Strong women in my life

From an early age, my mom taught my sisters and I that no dream was out of our reach…that we could achieve anything we put our minds to.  Even to this day, if I am struggling with self-doubt, my mom will sit me down and ask me Why can’t you achieve this?  Why NOT you?”.  She set the stage for me to believe in myself – to always push a little bit harder to reach a certain goal.

I have always been surrounded by successful, type-A, confident women – my mom, my three sisters, and my three closest girlfriends from high school have all exceeded a hundred times over with what they have tried to accomplish in their lives.   So it comes as no surprise to me that I still find myself drawn to the same types of females as I get older.

Being around strong women makes me stronger.  I see what they accomplish, I’m proud of/for them, and I feel empowered to go after my own impossible dreams.  It has nothing to do with being competitive or wanting to outperform these ladies…Being around their accomplishments and seeing/feeling their drive to succeed gives me confidence in MYSELF that I can follow in their footsteps and do something similar.  These strong females are strong in mind, body, and spirit – they embody success.

I will never understand females who shy away from strong, confident females as friends, acquaintances, or confidants, who feel the need to be the alpha-female in the group, or who want to be surrounded with females that don’t have any drive to succeed.  I don’t know the reasons behind why some females feel this way but I do know that they are missing out.

Being around strong women makes me stronger.  

The last week or so has been filled with accomplishments for some of the women in my life and I wanted to share a few stories and videos with you.

My roommate from college and close friend, Annie, ran a half marathon this past weekend…only FIVE months after giving birth to her first child, adorable little Adeline.  While that is impressive on its own, consider the fact that she is a single mom about 50% of the time – her husband is in the U.S. Army and deploys for weeks to months at a time.  She juggles being a nursing mom, housewife (taking care of 100% of the household duties – shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, etc), and amazing friend with finding the time to go to the gym or running with her daughter in the stroller.  Pretty darn impressive.  And she ran an awesomely fast race this weekend!

Twitter, FitFluential, and other social media outlets have afforded me the opportunity to meet a slew of fantastic, strong women over the last few months.  One of these is Jessica Hofheimer, a FFA, ambassador for Lululemon AthleticaRRCA certified running coach, Pilates teacher, and small business owner.  Oh and a wife and mom of 3!!  Talk about doing it ALL!  I’ve been a huge fan of Jessica’s since the first time I came across her blog – I can relate to her on so many levels (including being a stay-at-home-mom and nursing mother to a 14 month old son).  She just submitted her application for the nuun Hood to Coast Relay Team (you can read about the team here).  I can’t think of anyone better suited to be on the team this year than Jessica.  Her application included a really awesome video that shows the type of person she is – if you have a few moments you should definitely check it out on her blog. (The video/blog post is here)


Another strong woman in my life is Dorothy Beal, a FFA, RRCA certified running coach, Saucony Hurricane Team Captain, 3:11 marathoner (who has run 19 marathons), and mom of 3 (I think there is a pattern here!).  Similarly to Jessica,  Dorothy is a stay-at-home mom, has her own company, and juggles training for her marathons with cooking, cleaning, and being a mom/wife.  She has been associated with Saucony for a few years now (she writes some great reviews on their running apparel) and was recently given the opportunity to be included in Saucony’s FIND YOUR STRONG PROJECT.   (BTW – from now until April 10, you can upload a picture of your STRONG FACE for a chance to win a pair of Guide 5′s ->  She was photographed and filmed a few weeks ago to tell her “Find your Strong” strong – some footage was just released.  It’s pretty amazing and she is all over the video!!



These ladies are some of my biggest inspirations these days.  I will always be a huge fan of the Kara Gouchers and Desi Davilas in the world – but there is something about real women achieving these unbelievable goals that hits home with me.  It makes me want to work that much harder and makes me believe in myself and my goals.

Do you have any strong women like these ladies in your life?  

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    31 thoughts on “Strong women in my life

    1. What a great post about strong women in your life. What you said is so true- being around them makes us much stronger. No wonder you are so determined and driven with an upbringing like yours. YOU are a strong women too and I admire you! Way to keep up the 10 mile runs this far in your pregnancy! Every time I see your runs on Daily Mile it inspires me. :-)
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Capital City Classic 10K Race Report- {Officially} Breaking the 40 minute mark!My Profile

    2. The only problem I have with this post is the comments section. There are no guys at all! I have long since noticed that we, as a gender, are fairly outnumbered in the run-blog community, but this post is amazing! Anyway, as one of your blog’s biggest fans, I would like to point out that you have so many followers, readers, commenters because you too Michele are one of those strong, inspirational women. Doesn’t take a mom or a woman to see that. Keep on writing, running, and rocking life.

      That said, we guys know the importance of keeping strong women in our lives too. Those who don’t, well, it tends to show. My wife has run two marathons, and tons of other races, incredibly inspiring. My mom ran her first marathon after the age of 50. And those are only one of each of their many accomplishments. But ever since landing from Venus, we need you all to keep us going strong and pushing at our goals too. Also, girls smell pretty. But seriously, thank you for another great post!

    3. So I’ve been reflecting on this post all day and I’m so thankful that you wrote it. I’m lucky to have as friends so many different types of strong women, physically strong, spiritually strong, and strong mother types, who I appreciate so much. As an only child, my mother was the strongest woman in my life, a fact that I didn’t truly get until I grew out of rebelling against her and began sharing my life with her. When I first read this, I thought about all of the inspiring bloggers that are lighting up the net but as I thought about it more, I found myself thinking about my mom and how much credit I owe her. It’s refreshing to read a post like this that brings me some clarity in my life.
      Jamie @ myrunisnotdone recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: MikaMy Profile

    4. It’s so true– we need those strong models who are a bit more like us, and can be much more inspired by them then the elites sometimes! I love Jessica and Dorothy as well… such strong women, balancing so many important things!
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    5. First let me say that you enkindle strength and passion and that enables us to feel the same… you are inspiring. I feel supported by my two amazing sisters and by so many women and men in the running and military communities..I did not always have the best role models growing up, it has taken me many years to believe in myself, much of that self-esteem has emerged from my being able to run. I am so grateful to have entered the blog world.. it has opened me up to more who have hopes and dreams like myself. You are so authentic and generous.. I can sense that without ever meeting you… THAT is contagious and a very responsible way to live life. xo
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race RecapMy Profile

    6. Love this post Michelle! I completely agree that Jessica and Dorothy are ah-mazing women as are you!! All three of you are incredible inspirations and I am so happy to have stumbled upon all of your blogs. You all make me feel like anything is possible if you put your mind to it and to never discount dreaming big. <3
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    7. Michele – this is so wonderful! You inspire me so much with your strength and dedication and with how amazingly supportive and encouraging you are to everyone. I am really excited to get to meet you one day in person – I hope it’s soon! xxxooo
      jessica (pace of me) recently posted..lululemon ~ Run: Shorty ShortMy Profile

    8. WOW! This post alone is very inspiring to become a strong woman and to inspire the women around you to do the same! Thank you!

      I just discovered your blog a couple of days ago and I already love it!

    9. I totally agree with you about strong women! Since I became pregnant I have been on the search for such women as you describe so that I could learn about how they ran while pregnant, but I have found so much MORE in these women, including you! And it is so wonderfully inspiring and encouraging to someone like me, embarking on these adventures for the first time!
      Jane recently posted..Do Not Cry in TargetMy Profile

    10. Beautiful post. I couldn’t agree more — I am so proud of the strong and confident circle of friends that both uplift me but also inspire me and challenge me. I come from a family of strong women – two incredible sisters and the strongest superwoman mom ever and those values run very deep for me. It’s so important to celebrate confidence and strength as a woman – rather than shy away from it. Embrace those qualities always.
      Jess recently posted..Foodie Friday – the “I’m a genius” editionMy Profile

      • I love your comment, Jess!! I’m lucky enough to interact with one of your sisters!! (I WISH my sisters were on twitter – it would be SO fun!). Hope you have a great weekend – xoxo

    11. And “strong” does not mean NOT having moments (many, sometimes!) of vulnerability and doubt. It’s the ability to get through that moment and continue on…one day at a time……and not to become overwhelmed for what may be yet to come, because it depletes us of the strength we need to cope with the moment we are in! As always, great post, Michele!! xox

    12. I was the first person in my family to go to college…as a mother of two! I came across a Latina sorority on campus whose members were also mostly first-time college students. I joined, & even years after graduation, these strong and amazing women continue to inspire me! Without them, I don’t think I ever would’ve graduated. Seeing them get through helped me get through! Love this post. Thanks for sharing!

      • Wow…that’s truly remarkable that you were able to put yourself through college while raising 2 little ones at home. Thank you for sharing your story with me =) And thanks for the sweet words!! xoxo

    13. My mom was forced into single motherhood when she had three small kids and was able to become president of nursing at the hospital she worked at and now is the CNO for a chain of hospitals. I’m pretty proud.
      Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Nosferatu you too.My Profile

      • It’s truly amazing the number of strong, successful, confident women I meet…and then later come to find out that they were raised by their moms. My mom raised me and my sisters alone as well and I think I owe a large part of who I am today to how she raised us and what it was like growing up with a single parent. You should be super proud of your mama. =)

    14. Love this post, Michele. I also have three sisters and I love that each one of us is successful in four completely different fields. I really hope that I have a daughter (or two!) one day so we can continue our tradition of strong, intelligent and successful ladies.

      • V – I am hoping to write a post this week about what it’s like to grow up in a house full of women!! I’m sure you will be able to relate to SO many of the things we had to deal with =) Hope you are feeling good!!!!

    15. This is a fantastic post Michele! You are a HUGE inspiration to me, showing me what a woman can accomplish all while having a family, I look up to you as someone that I can have as a role model not only in my running life, but also when I have a family of my own.

      There’s also my mom. I was born 2 weeks after she turned 16, and my brother not too long after she turned 19. Years in an abusive relationship and being the sole breadwinner in the house, she turned her life around and is now highly successful. She’s been married for over 15 years, and runs her own horse farm, as well as riding her horse and competing every summer, all while keeping her full time job to pay the bills. She has proven that to me no matter where you come from you can get where you want to go.
      Samantha recently posted..Therapy & YogaMy Profile

      • Thanks, Samantha!! =) I’ve learned to take it one day at a time now that I have a little guy to worry about…otherwise I find myself getting totally overwhelmed with what has to get done!!
        The story of your mom is amazing. I love hearing stories of women who overcame struggles and hard times to make a good life – not just for themselves – but for their families. I think if you want something enough and are willing to put the time and effort into it – you can accomplish it. And not just in life – but in running too =)

    16. What a great post! I love hanging with strong women and my crew of running gals is the epitome of that. Accomplished, supportive, badass women and I love them.

      Glad you have the same in your life. I love Dorothy’s ad!
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