Ashley – Houston, TX
A messAge from susAn
e traveled just outside the city of couldn’t wait for Ashley to cross the finish
Houston to find a special mom line. Why? They wanted her to start training
named Ashley. Ashley is the them! Ashley started them with a few laps
mother of two adorable little boys, Avery, around the block every night after dinner.
9; and Julian, 7. As with many families, the This family put one foot in front of the other
idea to get healthy began with little steps. until they were running together for more
First, Ashley decided to run in a local 10K than an hour and a half each night. The
race and enlisted the help of her father who simple act of running produced results so
put together a training program they could stunning that the entire family was impacted
do together. Sadly, her dad had to drop out in breathtaking ways — as I’m sure you will
due to an injury, but Ashley pushed on and be after reading their story.
ran her race. Her sons were in the stands and
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There was a major fan reaction when a medicating the boy.
Houston mother named Ashley ran her first Ashley just shakes her head because she
10K race. was not in favor of using medication as a
There were more than 1,000 people in solution. “All I knew is that I had a very active
the stands. But the ones yelling the loudest little boy who didn’t like to be at a desk for
were her young sons Avery, 9, and Julian, 7, several hours a day,” she says.
who screamed, “Win, Mom! Win!”
Ashley didn’t cross the finish line first, According to the Physical
but what happened thanks to running was
better than getting a first place ribbon.
Activity Guidelines for
In the marathon called life, her entire Americans issued by the U.S
family is winning. Department of Health and
Ashley insists that she wasn’t born to run.
Neither were her children. Human Services, children
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think should aim for at least
that running could change everything for
60 minutes of moderate
my family — but it did,” she says. “The
impact has been amazing.” physical activity every day.
She began running thanks to her own
father’s suggestion and his training. Her The family tried different behavior
Dad was going to run in that 10K with her, modification techniques, but nothing
but dropped out when he injured his foot. changed Avery’s ultra-energetic behavior.
Ashley followed in his footsteps and became Running is the one thing that worked
a loving and wise trainer for her own kids. with this young boy. “This is the first time
Soon her sons were pounding the that I’ve felt like there is nothing wrong with
pavement with her every night. The results my child,” Ashley says. “This feeling started
were wide-reaching, to the point that her when we began running.”
oldest, who had always struggled with Avery smiles when asked about how his
hyperactivity and behavior issues, suddenly life is different now.
was a calmer child. “A long time ago, I had bad grades. My
“I knew that Avery was different,” behavior wasn’t so good,” Avery says. “Now,
says his proud mom. “When we went to for some reason, running has switched my
kindergarten, he was in so much trouble brain. I get good grades now, and I never get
every day. I didn’t know what to do.” in trouble anymore.”
Ashley blamed herself when teachers told For almost no money, Ashley insists that
her it was probably ADHD. She knew the any family can begin a running program.
next step would be for experts to suggest This family started by putting on some
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Quick Tips jogging shoes and running for 20 minutes
around their neighborhood. The boys did a
couple of laps around the block, running as
quickly or as slowly as they felt comfortable.
There was no pressure. They could stop and
• Find a beautiful spot to start. They just couldn’t quit.
run outdoors, if possible. “I motivated them by holding them back.
• Devote 20 minutes and Regular physical activity
jog slowly to begin. Add
two minutes to that time
can help you maintain
each week. your weight, keep off
weight that you lose, and
• Don’t run on a full
stomach. Allow at least an help you reach physical and
hour after dinner for your cardiovascular fitness.
food to digest.
You don’t want them sprinting and winded,”
• Set realistic goals where Ashley says. “You don’t want them to get too
you progress slowly. tired. I wanted them to go at a steady pace.”
Soon, the boys were easily running three
• Run at a speed where to five miles. It was even a bit of competition
you can still talk or even with the boys trying to out do one another.
tell stories. Mom noticed that there was also teamwork
between her sons.
• Teach your children how “If one wants to slow down, the other
to set physical goals, says, ‘Come on! You can do it! Follow me!’”
then help them stay she says. “They cheer for each other.”
motivated to reach Ashley says that the nightly exercise
those goals. ritual takes a little bit of planning. This busy
teacher makes sure her family eats dinner
by 5:30 p.m. They wait a bit for their food
to digest and then hit the pavement. She
advises not to run just after you eat. This
family waits for at least an hour.
Her family runs about five nights a week
for an hour and a half now. They eat healthy
salads and lean meats, but have some treats.
The rule is not to eat too much because it
will affect your running.
The time outdoors together has also
meant some wonderful family bonding.
Avery went from having Us — or
unsatisfactory grades — on his report
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about college. “Have you ever heard a
seven- and a nine-year-old sit around
talking about getting track scholarships to
college?” she asks with a smile. “Running
has taught my kids about having a goal —
and striving to achieve that goal.”
Mom couldn’t be more pleased with
“I love these boys deeply. They’re my life.
There is nothing more that I want in this
world than for them to be the best that they
can be and have the happiest life they can
have. It’s my job to give them those tools
now,” she says. “Running has been one of
Avery says that Mom is the best trainer.
“When I feel like quitting, she keeps me
motivated,” he says. “Mom tells me never
card in all 11 categories, to having 11 Es,
which are excellent marks.
“We didn’t do anything different at home
except run three to five miles a night,”
Julian holds a gold medal in his hand from
a local fun run. “I was the first one to pass the
finish line! I even beat the third graders!” he
says with pride. “I’m going to run forever!”
The family’s routine has also allowed
the boys to do better at other athletic
endeavors like soccer. Her sons even talk
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