As I get ready to share my Eat-Clean Diet® for Family & Kids with you, I thought this would be a perfect time to catch up with one of my girls. By doing this Q+A with Kiersten, I want to show you the wonders of how growing up Eat-Clean leads to both a sustained interest in health and wellness pursuits into adulthood and encourages healthy habits that stress physical activity as part of a balanced lifestyle over the long-term. My daughter Kiersten is 26, currently studying in Chicago, and set to run her first full marathon next week!! Yeah KK!!

T: Hi KK! Tell us how and why you decided to take the leap and run your first full marathon.
KK: Hi everyone! In only eight days my best Gal Pal in Chicago (who is also Canadian) Catherine Maki and I will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! This will be the first marathon for both of us, and a chance to cross it off our bucket list. While we have completed half marathons in the past, both of us have struggled to commit to a full marathon until this year.

The past year has seen a series of changes for both of us with the move across the border and adjusting to the fast-pace of our demanding graduate program. As a result, Catherine and I started running together whenever we could find time. It was during one of our mini-runs in between classes that we discovered that we both had significant mental barriers that had prevented us from running a full marathon in the past. While neither of us committed to running the Chicago Marathon that day, the idea clearly lingered in our heads.

T: What has been the most difficult part of the process preparing to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
KK: Committing to the Marathon was, in fact, the most difficult step. Having missed the deadline for the lottery we decided on a whim to run for a charity that we are both passionate about, Autism Speaks. Hitting the “submit” button on the charity registration page was no easy feat. Since Catherine and I have been in Chicago, we have struggled to maintain the level of fitness we were accustomed to while living in Toronto. We knew that training for an event like the Marathon would be immensely challenging for us both.

T: I know you have been incredibly busy with school, your sister Rachel’s wedding, and everything thrown your way in this wild ride of life; how have you maintained your dedication and focus in the face of challenges?
KK: Challenging it has proven to be, especially alongside our summer school internship schedules, networking travels in the UK, family weddings, and fundraising commitments for the race. It is truly astonishing to look back and realize how much we have managed to accomplish since pressing that “submit” button. What we are trying to say is, upon committing to the race, even just on paper, it immediately became a priority. Looking back there were early morning runs, late night yoga sessions, injuries, obstacles and more, however we scheduled our weeks around these activities with the overarching goal in mind. Now we’re only eight days away and it feels pretty amazing!!

T: What is one major takeaway you and Catherine would like to share with everyone about the power of taking on a new fitness goal of this magnitude?
KK: We encourage you to get out there and bite the bullet on one of your bucket list items. What do you want to do? Climb Kilamanjaro? Run up a mountain? Compete in a triathlon or Cross Fit event? It can be yours for the taking and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.

T: How have you been training for the marathon? I know everyone is wondering – especially in light of how busy you’ve been.
KK: We followed the Nike Running Training Coach Plan, Hal Higdon Marathon Plan, cross-trained with Tosca Reno Circuits and yoga’d with The Runner’s World Yoga Center.

T: LOL do I even need to ask what you’ve been doing in terms of nutrition
KK: We maintained the Eating Clean principles with a little bit a cake, and bread 🙂

T: How can people support you and Autism Speaks?
KK: Please consider donating to us and Autism Speaks here. Our goal is to raise $3000. We are almost there but need your help to make it all the way!

T: Is there anything else we should include in closing?
KK: Of course YOU Mom have been a source of inspiration both nutritionally and physically for the two of us as we have juggled our busy school schedules, traveled in Europe and most recently applied for jobs (eek!). You are a master juggler and always manage to fit it all in – the workout, the meetings, the travel, whatever. I often thought of you when I felt like I couldn’t manage. There were also a number of days when I had to call you to get me pumped for my next long run. I love you mom, thank you for being you!! XO

T: Awww KK!! I love you and am soooo proud of you girls. I know you will get out there and kick major butt! I’m so excited for you both to rock this.
KK: Thank you everyone!! We are pumped for our big day and welcome any and all support. Love and hugs, Kiersten and Catherine.

Help me give a special shout out to KK and Catherine in the days leading up to the Chicago Marathon, happening October 12! Send your good vibes and notes of encouragement to the girls on my Facebook, Twitter, or Kitchen Table or the comments below.

Remember, I’m always listening

PS- Think I should share one of my Cross Training Circuits the girls used to get ready for the marathon? Hmmm… Who wants this on a blog?