Editors note: Please enjoy this special Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon edition of chambana mom and dad to know.
Julie and Todd Sweet both work for the University of Illinois in the College of Business. Julie, a Champaign native, and Todd met in Seattle. After the birth of their first child they moved to Central Illinois to be closer to Julie’s family. The Sweets live in Savoy with their 5-year-old son, Cooper, and their 3-year-old daughter, Anna. Julie is a ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist and a veteran of five full marathons, while Todd has completed two. Both will be running the half marathon on May 1.
Q: How have you both managed work, family, and training for the half marathon?
Todd: We actually have a good routine in place for completing our training runs. Julie is a morning person, so she generally gets up and out the door before the rest of us are awake. I prefer to run at night, so after we put the kids to bed, I’ll head out for my run. On the weekends when we do our longer runs, we trade off watching the kids. The nice thing about the half marathon distance is that the training is obviously less time-consuming than the full marathon. If we miss a run or need to adjust our training schedules due to a family event it’s not as big a deal.
Q: What are you most excited about for marathon day?
Julie: In big events like this there is a palpable pre-race energy that is contagious. I love the fact that this race represents a major milestone for so many people in our community. You’ve seen people of all ages and abilities out training on the roads throughout the winter; today is the big payoff for that hard work, and we get to share that experience. Finally, I’m excited to cheer on my friends and family who are also competing in the various events. My brother, Roger Short, will be running in his second full Illinois Marathon, and my best friends from high school are on a relay team together.
Q: Do the kids have plans to cheer you on?
Julie and Todd: Yes. Both of our kids will cheer us on with their grandparents. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer for spectators than it was last year! They are both running the kids’ 1K (the Busey Illinois Youth Run) in the afternoon, so we will come back for that as well.
Q: When you’re not training for an event, how/why do you both incorporate fitness into your routine?
Todd: Running, and fitness in general, have been important to both of us since before we met. In fact, we first met when Julie was recruiting corporate team members for a race in Seattle (we worked for the same company at the time). Injuries, pregnancies and young kids made regular routines challenging (understatement!), but we’re now getting back in the swing of things. Even after the half we will likely keep the same schedule, but perhaps reduce the overall mileage. Plus, always having an event on the horizon, whether it’s a 5K or a full marathon, keeps you motivated to stay fit.
Q: What are your goals for the half marathon?
Todd: Have fun, run a negative split (second half faster than the first), and feel well enough afterward to consider getting back to the full marathon distance soon.
Julie: Finish! My training is not the top priority it once was pre-kids, so this spring it took a beating. I’m focused on enjoying the run and not achieving a personal record this time. There will always be another opportunity for that, and I’m already looking ahead to more halves and possibly a full marathon again.
Q: What are your family’s favorite ways to stay active together?
Julie: We don’t do anything too unusual, just try and get the kids out on their bikes or to the park when the weather cooperates. In the winter we make sure we head to the indoor playground regularly and also get the kids signed up for some activities like gymnastics, swimming or dance.
For us the most important part is to lead by example. Kids pick up on everything you do, so we try and eat well and exercise, and explain the benefits to them. Last year we were going to walk in a 5K with them in the jogging stroller and our then 4-year-old decided to hop out and do the entire race with us. We talked to our pediatrician about it, and she encouraged us to support his desire to run at any pace he was comfortable with. Since then he has run/walked in another 5K and a couple other fun runs. Both Cooper and Anna like to “train” with us by running around the neighborhood.
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