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Home » Creative ways to stay motivated while balancing fitness and family with Tim Molony! Ep 035

Creative ways to stay motivated while balancing fitness and family with Tim Molony! Ep 035

#035 – Getting started is hard… Staying motivated is harder. In this episode, you will hear the inspiring story of Tim Molony on why he started running and the ways that he found would keep himself motivated for the long-term.

Topics Covered:

  • Finding what works for you when you start running
  • Different ways to keep running interesting
  • How to work through and come back from an injury
  • Finding the time and the right balance to reach your fitness goals

Today’s Guest
Tim Molony
Tim has been running regularly since 2006. He has completed a total of 21 marathons in 18 states, 12 Half-Marathons, and has an active running streak of 530 days (as of 10/30/2021). He is a member of, currently in 6th place for most streets run within the city of Cincinnati. Tim ran over 2,020 miles in 2020, currently on pace to run over 2,021 miles in 2021. He is also a member of 50 States Marathon Club.

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Richard Conner 0:00

Welcome to Episode 35. Today’s guest is going to share with us how he got started in running, creative ways to keep running interesting for the long term, and finding the right balance between fitness and family. Hope you enjoy. Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.

Tim Molony 0:22

2007 I ran my first marathon it was the Marine Corps Marathon in Virginia, Washington DC. At that point, I thought, Okay, that’s great. I’ve run I’ve run a marathon but what am I gonna do on a daily basis to kind of stay on track with my health? You know, I don’t want to I don’t want to get complacent, let things go and fall right back into the same bad habit.

Intro/Outro 0:49

Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast, whether you are new to running or seasoned, get tips in the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.

Richard Conner 1:06

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. I am here with today’s guest, Tim Molony. Tim has been running regularly since 2006. He has completed a total of 21 marathons in 18 states 12 half marathons, and has an active running streak of 530 days. He is a member of Currently in sixth place for most streets run within the city of Cincinnati. Tim ran over 2,020 miles in 2020. Currently on pace to run over 2,021 miles in 2021. He is a member of the 50 States Marathon Club. Welcome to the show, Tim.

Tim Molony 1:51

Hi, Richard, thanks for having me on the show.

Richard Conner 1:53

Absolutely what a career running career you have here, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Love to get into all that you’ve done and running and talk about the marathon talk about city strides, your running streak, 50 States Marathon Club, like there’s so much here to talk about. So just really excited to have you here today. So let’s you know, kick things off and let the listeners get to know you a little bit. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Tim Molony 2:23

Okay, I am in my late 40s. I’m an active runner, I have a I guess what you would call a blended family. I have a 13 year old son and a 16 year old daughter. And I have a significant other named Annie. I work in a company for a company that services, the process industry. And I’ve been doing that for about 14 years.

Richard Conner 2:46

Okay. All right. Very cool. So, you know, in terms of running, you’ve been running since 2006, for quite some time. But you weren’t always a runner, maybe. So let’s talk a little bit about that. Like what prompted you to get into running back then?

Tim Molony 3:01

Sure. So back in late 2005, early 2006, I had finished up a degree that I’d been working on for a few years, and working full time. And for several years, I had not been eating very healthy, and I did not have any kind of exercise routine in my life. And I knew I needed to do something about that. So I had been thinking about what I wanted to do for a while. And then in the midst of all that I I had a checkup at the doctor’s office, and they did some blood work. And my cholesterol was through the roof, my blood pressure was through the roof, my weight was out of control. It was obvious to them and me that some changes needed to be made. So initially, I started walking almost daily. And then it got to be a little bit of a chore trying to get enough walking time devoted for the activity. And I think at some point, I thought, well, there’s got to be a faster way to do this. And then was and I just started running instead. So just gradually moved into it. You know, one day I was out for a walk and I’m going to run a quarter mile of this and then the next the next time I’m out maybe I’ll try for a half mile today. And then that just kept escalating until I decided I think I’m gonna sign up for my first 5k I guess that’s how it all started. And then what’s similar with other runners I’m sure is well once you’ve done a 5k Well, what’s the next thing I can do? Maybe a 10k Oh, what’s what’s the longer than that? Half Marathon and then I think before I had even run my first half marathon, I’d already decided that was going to run a full marathon. It was it was a bucket list item for me. In October of 2007, I ran my first marathon, it was the Marine Corps Marathon in Virginia, Washington DC. At that point, I thought, Okay, that’s great. I’ve run, I’ve run a marathon, but what am I going to do on a daily basis to kind of stay on track with my health, you know, I don’t want to, I don’t want to get complacent, let things go and fall right back into the same bad habits that that had landed me some bad results with the doctor. So I’ve been reading about this 50 States Marathon Club. And I thought, you know, that’s, that’s a good goal, that someone like me, it’s enough to keep my interest for a while, and it’ll take so long to do that. I’ll always have to be relatively healthy in order to keep working towards completing all the states. So

Richard Conner 5:51

sure sure

Tim Molony 5:51

so it’s a good fit for someone like me.

Richard Conner 5:53

That’s, that’s fantastic. And I definitely want to get into that a little bit more about kind of how that’s been for you. But let’s, let’s kind of take it back to earlier on when you went to the doctor, and you realize that you needed to make a change. That’s, unfortunately, not uncommon, right? Where we get that the news diagnosis, whatever the case is, and we realize at that point, we need to make a change. And, you know, here on Inspire Virtual Runs, we’re hoping that we can help folks before they get to that point. But of course, it’s important to make the decision that you made to take control of your health and fitness. So congratulations to you.

Tim Molony 6:30

Thank you.

Richard Conner 6:31

So you know, let’s, let’s talk a little bit more about that. I mean, you talked, you kind of breezed through walking, running 5k 10k, half marathon.

Tim Molony 6:40


Richard Conner 6:40

What was that progression like? Because I can imagine for folks, even that first 5k is not easy, right? From walking just to go into a 5k and then beyond. So what was that journey like for you?

Tim Molony 6:52

I remember spending a lot of my time sore, my body was not accustomed to that type of workout. And I had a lot of problems, just trying to get shoes that fit my feet properly. You know, everyone kept telling me oh, the problems the shoes, you need to you need to change up your shoes, you should be wearing this you should be wearing that you should have in like heel inserts or the orthopedic insoles and, and I just kept trying everything. And I think it was trying one thing after another. They weren’t right for me. And they just kept causing more pain and discomfort. So working through that was kind of its own task, you know, I had to figure out what was right for me. And then in the end, it was I think I’d amassed about eight or nine pairs of shoes, and none of them really felt like the right kind of shoe for me.

Tim Molony 7:54

So the daily habit, I also wasn’t used to dietary aspects of the running, you know, as my calorie burn went up, my metabolism went up, I think I had a little more energy, adrenaline, whatever it was in, in a day, I wasn’t accustomed to that. And then the extra eating, I was always hungry. So trying to eat enough so that I could fuel those runs properly, but not so much that I would undo the benefit of actually running, that there was a balance to be found there. And then the amount of rest I needed, trying to trying to make sure I was getting enough rest. I mean, it was new running, running farther distances. And in different places. It was kind of fun and new and a little exciting. And I and I had to remember, your body needs rest, rest is important. And if you don’t get it, your body will make you get it. So it just trying to find a plan and prepare a plan that worked for me through that progression. Just something gradual. What I found worked well for me was trying to increase weekly mileage to the point where I wasn’t going beyond 10% More than the week before. It seemed like I did a good job of avoiding injury during that time. And you don’t want to go from only a little bit of mileage to you know, full tilt, you know, as much as I can do until my body says Uncle. It’s not a good way to go. And then there’s so much advice out there. And a lot of it is helpful. But a lot of it is written by people that have been running so long. I think they kind of forget what those early days were like. And it’s just you have to take it you have to ease into it.

Richard Conner 9:54

Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate you sharing your experience and everything that you mentioned. spot on in terms of having the right gear through nutrition, rest, very, very important. And and then just that training plan the absolutely right having to gradually move up because just like you can get burned out from working 80 hours a week, right, your body can get burned out from all that exercise, if it’s not accustomed to and it’s something you have to build up to it. So that’s, that’s really good insight there.

Tim Molony 10:26

Absolutely. Yeah, you’re absolutely right.

Richard Conner 10:29

So that takes you to the half marathons, the marathons being part of the the 50 states marathon club and city strides. So let’s talk about that a little bit. You know, first off, like, let’s talk talk about the 50 states marathon club. How did you find out about it? And what has that journey been like for you?

Tim Molony 10:49

I think I was reading a Runner’s World article by somebody. One of those small, two paragraph articles from like, your everyday runner, and they had discovered the group and referenced it in one of the articles. And when I was reading it, I thought, well, that sounds interesting. And then I started looking into it more. And it kind of seemed like a way off pipe dream. But I thought, oh, what else am I doing? You know, keep me busy. They have they have one rule before you before you can officially become a member. You have to run you have to complete 10 states.

Richard Conner 11:31


Tim Molony 11:32

Yeah. And they have to be races that are they have to have a certain number of runners in the race, and they have to meet a couple criteria. It has I think they have to be a certified course. And you can’t just organize a race in a state without a certified course, run it and then okay, that’s my state. It’s not that it’s not that easy. So, so I, I knew that was that was something that I wanted to do. But at the time, I had two small children. And I was wondering, Well, how am I going to make this work, and not just not just finding the time, but also, you know, all that travel. That’s, that’s not cheap, you know. So trying to make a life budget that’s going to accommodate a few trips a year so that I can do that sort of thing. So yeah, it budgeting, timing, all of that critical. If you’re going to try and do something like that.

Richard Conner 12:33

That’s super cool. Well, congratulations on what you’ve completed so far. I know you got a little bit to go. But that’s just a tremendous achievement, where you are today. And, you know, that takes us into city strides. So that’s, it sounds like it’s a little more local, maybe a little less planning needed to to kind of execute on that, but still super cool. So tell us about that.

Tim Molony 12:53

Sure. I kind of meet up with a couple different running groups around town on occasion. And a friend of mine named Andrew, I was running with him one morning, and he, he told me about this website he’s been using for a while called City strides. I said, well tell me more about it. And he said, Oh, well, it tracks all the different streets in a given city. And your, whether it’s your GPS mileage, or like if you have a Garmin or whatever, it imports that data. And it kind of lays it out on a map setting. And then it retains the information on the map. So that you build this map over time, I think they call it like a life map or something and, and it plugs all the lines in in purple of streets that you’ve completed and keeps a list of by city for every city you’ve ever run in every country you’ve ever run in. And it plots all this on a map. So you can see it visually on a map or you can read it street by street alphabetically if you want however you want to parse out the data. And I think one of the things I really like about it is it’s one of the it’s one of the few things I’ve done in the last couple years it’s really breathed new life into into the running because, okay, now it’s more than just going for a run now. It’s, you know, I’ve lived in this city for you know, in different parts of this city for most of my life. And I’m seeing you know, I really thought I knew my way around this city. I know the city. No, not like I’m not like I’m getting to know it now. I mean, I just piece by piece. The neighborhoods I go through some of these places I didn’t even know were there. You know, I mean, it’s interesting, and now I’ve I don’t just feel like I’m just going out to get the same four mile run or six mile run or whatever it is. When I go out now there’s maybe not every day but many days in a week. It’s A targeted effort. I’m planning out what I want to do, where do I want to be? What do I want to see, when I’m out for a run? What part of town do I want to be in. So if I have something to do on the west side of town, well, I’ll plan a run on the west side of town and park a car and go over there and run. It’s like in similar to the 50. States club, it’s one of those goals that will keep me occupied for a while, there’s so many streets, you know, I don’t think my goal is to run every street in Cincinnati. But I do think one of my goals is to run as many streets as I can in Cincinnati, just kind of, you know, I’ve lived here for so long, I should probably see the different parts of where I live.

Richard Conner 15:42

You know, so I love this. And I love you know, that you’re sharing city strides with us. You know, I’ll share a personal story. About a year and a half ago now, at the beginning of the pandemic, gyms were closed, I couldn’t, I couldn’t work out the way I wanted to, couldn’t, couldn’t run. And I decided, maybe it’s time for me to get outdoors, at least at the very least I could start walking and running outdoors. And similar to your experience, even in my own neighborhood, I’m noticing and realizing things that I never noticed in the decade that I’ve been living here. So it’s just been such a wonderful experience. And that’s why I love this topic about city strides because there’s so much more it where we live. And if we don’t kind of take the time to explore, then we’ll never know, and this is a perfect way to do that getting that exercise and kind of, you know, exploring the area. So I really, really love this. And, and, you know, in addition to that, between city strides and the marathons, these are your ways to stay motivated to stay active. And I think those are the things you know, tips and tricks that maybe the community could use. If you know from time to time, if you’re not feeling like, oh, I don’t really want to run for a period of time for whatever the case is. Kind of having these goals or ways to to stay active, I think would be super helpful. So I appreciate you sharing these.

Tim Molony 17:04


Richard Conner 17:05

That’s really great. But I know, it hasn’t been all how they say, puppies and rainbows. For you during your running career. I know there’s been some challenges along the way. So let’s talk a little bit about that. Like, how are things gone for you and share a little bit about some of those challenges?

Tim Molony 17:27

Well, I think one of the the biggest or most long term challenges that I’ve faced along the way has been not just the occasional little injury that comes up like they do. But I did have one that was what I would consider more of a major injury. And it kept me from running for about a little over four years, or somewhere between four and four and a half years. Running didn’t cause my injury. But running on an existing injury that I didn’t know about exacerbated the injury and just made it worse and worse and worse over time to the point where I was unable to run. And I couldn’t walk more than a mile. And it took about, yeah, four years before. I was running regularly. Like I could run a couple days a week. It was a long road and trying to try and to get through that time when

Tim Molony 18:22

Well, let me just backtrack a little bit. So one winter morning, I went out to my car, I slipped on a patch of ice and I fractured my tailbone. But no one, none of the X rays showed a fractured tailbone. My doctor says once once you’re not feeling any pain, and it feels okay, you’re safe to run on it. We don’t see any fractures here. And the pain continued a little bit. They did an MRI. They didn’t see any fracture again. And they said yeah, we’re not seeing anything. So you know, as long as you can, as long as you can be comfortable when you go out for a run, then you should be okay to run. Well, I I kept running on this unknown injury. And over time, I just kept making it worse and worse for myself. So the fractured tailbone because you have this mechanism of injury in there is throwing other things off. And eventually what happened was the continued running started to make the tissue tear away from a joint in my pelvis. So it got it got so bad that that was why I couldn’t continue running. And I had looked into surgical options, the surgical options were not good. There’s less than a 10% success rate on the surgery and there are not many doctors in the US that even perform it. So I think the best advice I got was just give it time and see how it progresses. So when you become accustomed to running on a regular basis, it’s one of those things that kind of need, you need that in your life, you know, it makes you it makes you feel better it does, whatever it does for you. And when that is taken away and depression sets in and and days can get pretty tough so, and not knowing how soon is too soon to try again, that’s, that’s always tricky. I guess what I would say is you have to stick with it. But you have to be really patient. I mean, there were times where I really didn’t know if I was ever going to run again. So just getting past that. And by the time I could finally I finally couldn’t run again. Because I didn’t have that physical activity in my life. My weight had escalated again. And so by the time I was finally doing it again, it was not my best effort by any means. But I was able to, to finish a marathon eventually, with one of my worst finishing times ever, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a race result.

Richard Conner 21:01

Of course, of course, because you you went from from injury to recovery to not even knowing if you could run again. So hats off to you for being just able to complete the marathon.

Tim Molony 21:12

Yeah, I’m, I’m stubborn like that.

Richard Conner 21:16

Oh, well, congratulations. And thank you for sharing that story. You know, during that time, were there other things that you’re able to do? Are you still able to walk and kind of stay, you know, stay on your feet? Or what are the kind of the things you’re able to do during that time?

Tim Molony 21:31

I could it in the, in the earlier portion of that time, I couldn’t even walk much. I think eventually, I I tried lots of different things during that time. And they were not comfortable. In some cases, they were very painful. But I remember trying yoga, Pilates was I did a spin class. And I think the timing was right when I did the spin class. So when I started that, I think I started it, it was maybe once every other week, and then it got to once a week, and then twice a week, just to get some exercise. And I was able to do that. And and that was about the most I could do yoga, it was a little too much. And I thought that was gonna be one of the easier things that just kind of helped me get some flexibility back and but certain things aren’t right for certain injuries. And that’s one of them.

Richard Conner 22:28

Sure. Okay. All right. Well, again, congratulations, it’s great to hear that you’re back on the road. Let’s um, let’s talk a little bit more about challenges. So these are some of the kind of the physical challenges that you’ve had in your running journey. What else would you say would kind of be your biggest challenge maybe non physical that you’ve had throughout your, your running journey?

Tim Molony 22:50

Well, let’s see. Several years ago, I went through a divorce and trying to trying to find enough time for everything. Time for the kids, time to find a house time to work, the hours that I need to work time to run. Just how do I find time for everything I want to do? How much should I prioritize certain things? So, you know, do I still want to run 50 states? Yeah, but maybe, maybe time doesn’t allow for that. Maybe finances don’t allow for that. Back it off, okay, what’s realistic, maybe, maybe one trip next year, you know, or maybe two, but I keep them closer geographically, I only make them like two or three day weekend trips, something like that. I think I got to a point where I was trying to do all these things for all these different people in my life. And I, I kind of lost sight of making sure I carved out enough time for myself. And things have worked a lot more smoothly, it may not be as much time as I want or it may not be perfect, but just start with that. And I’ve kind of had a sometimes it’s okay to make things bend but don’t break them. You know, when when it comes to different obligations, whether it’s a child social calendar, child’s school calendar, some professional needs, the list goes on and on. There’s always there’s always things that come up and just trying to make sure I get that little bit of time for myself every day, makes all the difference in the world. I mean, I I think it makes me a lot happier. If I’m happier, the people around me are also happier. So yeah.

Richard Conner 24:40

Completely understand. And thank you for sharing that. You know, I think about something a manager told me many years ago about time and prioritization. And he always loved to use the analogy of the boulders and pebbles right. So kind of filling that jar with the boulders first and then the pebbles and and just making sure like those really important things, whether it’s at work or in life, or just all together, you get the really important things are prioritized, and then everything else will just find a way. Right. Everything else.

Tim Molony 25:11 Yeah, agreed.

Richard Conner 25:13

Well, thanks for sharing that, you know, kind of as we wind down here, what would you say to our inspire virtual runs community, for those folks who are thinking about running? Or maybe those who are running now, but maybe taking a break? Or don’t have the motivation to kind of keep going like, what would you say to the listeners?

Tim Molony 25:35

If, if the interest level is there, I would say, you got to stick with it just plan plans small, the smaller you can keep the plan, the more manageable it is, you know, just work towards something piece by piece. You don’t have to plan anything grand, and then set yourself up either for failure or for a very tedious task to make all that happen. Just small milestones forward progress, that would be my recommendation.

Richard Conner 26:09

Okay. All right. Tim, this has been a wonderful conversation. I loved hearing your story, so much to share with the community about how to get started, how to stay motivated with some of the things that you’re doing with the marathons and city strides, how to move through an injury. And just again, just all the wonderful insights that you share it I just want to say thank you again for coming on the show.

Tim Molony 26:34

Well, thank you and thank thank you for your time. Thanks for having me.

Intro/Outro 26:39

That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening

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