During Million Mile Month 2015 we had the pleasure of meeting an amazing mom who’s daughter, Zoey, has been battling leukemia since January 2013 and who’s husband is active military. Read the story of how Million Mile Month has provided her family with a way to relieve stress, stay positive and stay physically active among the chaos and a very hectic schedule.

Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

I’m Danielle, a 30 year old stay at home mom and wife. My husband, Dan, is active duty Army. We have 1 daughter named Zoey. Zoey was diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2013 and has been going through treatment ever since.

So between the military and our daughter’s diagnosis, our life can be a little hectic at times! But I kind of thrive on that. I like to stay busy and active, both physically and mentally. I’m great at staying organized and doing what needs to be done.

FullSizeRender-2How did you hear about Million Mile Month?

My local running store posted an event for it on Facebook to help get people involved and I figured it’d be a good motivator for me, so I signed myself up!

Can you tell us about a time you’ve pushed yourself while participating in MMM?

The whole month! I had started a Jeff Galloway training program in March, so by April I was well into it and pushing myself with that. I’m not a natural born athlete or runner or anything like that, so when it comes to physical activity it doesn’t come easy to me and I always have to push myself. I’m not the fastest or the best, but that’s what’s fun for me about running. I don’t have to be the fastest or the best, I’m only competing against myself so all I aim to do is be better than I was yesterday.

Many people say they just can’t find the time to exercise. Having extra doctor’s appointments and treatments for Zoey must take a lot of time, how do you find time to do all that and exercise as well?

I’ve been on a weight loss journey for 3 years now and have lost 75 pounds so far. Through this journey, I have found that if I don’t schedule and plan exercise into my day, it just doesn’t happen. You have to make it a priority and just plan to get it done. Getting on a regular schedule has helped too so that I know what I should be accomplishing each day, each week. I run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then come home and do an additional 20 minute cardio routine after my run. On Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday if I have time, I go for a short walk with the dog and then come home and do a 25 minute strength and abs routine. I do a little yoga whenever I can squeeze it in too.

IMG_0422This last year Zoey started preschool and went for 3 hours each morning, so everyday I used those 3 hours to get my exercising in. Now that she’s out for the summer it’s a bit more challenging. We’re also down in FL, so it’s so hot now too! So my solution to both of those challenges was to just get my exercising in later in the day once the sun is going down. My husband is usually home from work then and it’s so much cooler out, so I can leave Zoey at home with him while I hurry and go for my runs and walks before it gets dark. Then I come home and do the rest. Zoey actually likes to do the cardio and strength routines with me. And she LOVES doing yoga with me. My husband will do them with me too, so it’s fun when we all do it. We’re spending time together and I’m getting my exercise!

It looks like you participate in a lot of races with your friends and family. How was MMM different than other one day race events?

FullSizeRenderWell, when you have a race scheduled, you have to show up at the designated time or you miss it. So you make sure to get there because you already registered and paid for it! Plus, if you sign up with friends and family, you don’t want to let them down. Well, when I did MMM there were no designated times to be certain places for certain activities, and no one was counting on me to do it. It was just all up to me to do it on my own!

Do you have a favorite MMM experience?

The whole month was great, really! It helped me shape the exercise schedule that I’m on now.

Is there anything intimidating about Million Mile Month?

It was a little intimidating to log onto the website and see some people really racking up the miles on the leaderboards! But everyone is on their own journey and I try to not compare myself with others. If anything, I use them as inspiration to strive to do better. When I would log on and see others getting miles in, it made me want to do the same.

How many miles did you end up logging?

I originally set my goal at 25 miles because I figured that was doable. But I think I hit that a little less than halfway through the month, so I changed my goal to 50 miles. And I did end up passing even that and logging in 59 miles total for the month.

Did you find the MMM online community supportive and inspirational? Did they make you want to keep moving?

Definitely inspirational! Like I said, logging on and seeing others complete miles made me want to do the same, so the friendly competition part of it pushed me to do better and better. I tried to get my sister and a friend to do it with me so we could compare our miles logged with each other, but they didn’t ever end up signing up so maybe next year for MMM they will so we can do that! Seeing how well others do really motivates me to do well too.

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