We are thrilled to feature a guest blog from our fit mom ambassador, Sarah Ladwig.
Hi there! My name is Sarah Ladwig. I am 26 years old and run a dog running and dog hiking business in Marin County, CA, Paws & Go. Every day I run and hike up to 10 dogs in small groups, spending the majority of my time on pristine trails with breathtaking views. Yes, it’s a really good gig. I never could have imagined that I would be running my own business as a young adult (let alone one that revolves around exercising dogs), but it has been the most positive, unique, and rewarding experience of my life.
I was a starting guard on our high school varsity basketball team for three years, but it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I felt inspired to get into tip-top shape again. I still can’t remember what sparked my motivation to use running as a means to get fit, but whatever it was, it worked. I decided from the get-go that I wasn’t going to let running be a miserable and painful experience – like it is for every kid in middle school and high school – the point was going to be finding enjoyment, not resentment.
I opted to run at a comfortable pace, stop and walk when I felt winded, run harder and longer when I felt good, and never push myself to the point where I lost my lust for wanting to run the next day. I built my miles slowly, took tremendous pride in my efforts, and fell in love running within months. Almost six years later, I’ve put on more than 6,500 miles, and there’s nothing gives me more personal, physical, and mental pleasure than running.
Although Paws & Go has shifted over the years from being running-heavy to evenly split between running and hiking, most days I still combine to run and hike somewhere between 10 and 15 miles – even with a growing bun in the oven! Though there are always those mornings when I don’t know how I’ll make it through another day of exercise, once I’m with my first group of dogs, I feed off their energy and the hours and miles just melt away.
I am lucky to have two amazing motivators at home, too: my loving and supportive husband, Adam, who pushed me to start Paws & Go three years ago, and our three-year old Smooth Collie rescue, Obi, who is the Paws & Go socialite and a exercise superstar. Between the two of them, determination, stamina, and have never been an issue.
When Adam and I found out I was pregnant in July, our joy and excitement was off the charts. It was something we’d both looked forward to our entire lives and carefully planned for, both professionally and personally. One of the main reasons I quit my desk job three years ago to start Paws & Go was for the freedom and flexibility we knew it would allow our family when we decided to have kids – not to mention how easy it would be to stay in shape during my pregnancy! Between baby carriers and high-tech running strollers (as well as Adam’s flexible summer schedule and loving grandparents nearby), we have no worries that I can continue my business postpartum, and as Adam puts it, “raise our baby on the trails.”
Though I’m still only 24 weeks pregnant, so far it has been smooth sailing, and I attribute nearly all of it to the amount of exercise, healthy eating habits, and positive energy I’m exposed to on a daily basis. Although I’ve lowered my (running) miles over the past few months, I’m still running 120-140 miles each month, hiking another 100, and hope to maintain that throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. No matter how tired I may feel, I always feel better after exercising, and never regret it. (A classic line for running motivation.)
As cliché as it may sound, I feel genuinely lucky in this extraordinary moment in my life. Good health, endless support from friends and family, and the greatest canine co-workers in the world have made staying fit during my pregnancy both a reality and a joy. There will certainly be challenges and new obstacles to navigate once our boy arrive, but that’s where the beauty of a daily run shines brightest; it’s time carved out each day to brainstorm, problem-solve, and be creative about life’s adventures and experiences yet-to-unfold.
Please enjoy the daily dog adventure pictures posted to Paws & Go’s Facebook page, as the photography side of my business is nurtured and grown over the next several months.
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