151 Marathon Mom, Cathi Gridley Interview

As part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month we here at Zim’s thought it might be fun to tell you about a friend of ours, Cathi Gridley, who is not only a mother of 7 but has finished over 150 marathons in many different states. We all need encouragement from time to time so hopefully her story will help motivate you to get out and run!

What do you like about running?

I am a very simple, frugal person. Running is simple. It doesn’t require a great deal of coordination or skill. I once was a substitute teacher in a dance class and I was way out of my league. For running, you just put one foot in front of the other over and over again. It is also a cheap sport. If you have a good pair of shoes, you are set. You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment. It is the perfect sport for me.

How did you get started running marathons?

I started running 23 years ago after my first child was born. I am an eater so I gained a large amount of weight with each pregnancy. I took the phrase “eating for two” very seriously. Haha! And to be honest, I’ve never looked like a barbie doll. I’ve always struggled to keep my weight in check. So my first motivation was getting my baby weight off. I had a running stroller so my baby and I would go run. My husband was gone all the time with school and work so the stroller made it easy.

I have been running marathons for almost 17 years.

When you are running what do you use to motivate you to finish?

Running can be a metaphor for life. Running can be hard just like any other of life’s challenges. You aren’t feeling amazing but you just have to keep going.  Running is a mental thing. You know you’ve run a mile before so you know you can do it today. You know you’ve run up a big hill before so you can do it today.

The 2018 Boston Marathon female winner was Des Linden. She said,

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell.  Everyday I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got and to try to be better. My advice: keep showing up!”

That’s like in life, we have to keep showing up even when we aren’t feeling it or it isn’t fun. Pushing through the hard times requires discipline and is what makes us tough. It it what makes you feel amazing at the end of a run or a race. In a marathon, you push through so many times when you wanted to quit. That’s why the finish feels amazing.

How do you balance out training with your other responsibilities?

When I trained for my first marathon, I didn’t have any running friends most of the time. I trained in the evenings after my husband got home and could watch the kids. As my kids have gotten older and have their own activities in the evenings, I have moved running to early mornings. For the last 20 years or so I have run at 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning. With high school kids I would need to be back pretty early to help get them off to school. Early mornings are my jam now. I love the feeling of getting home from a run and having the whole day ahead of me. I am a much less grumpy mom after an hour away, visiting with good friends. If I didn’t have good friends that were counting on me to meet them, I wouldn’t be near as successful. I don’t want to let my running BFF’s down and I know that the running is good for me. Once I’m out the door I am ALWAYS grateful I got up!

With running so early, no one else at my house is awake so my training doesn’t interfere with the rest of the family. On Saturdays we usually run at 7:00 for 10 miles so I am back by 9:00.

If you wait until evenings to run, sometimes things will come up and you won’t be able to go. Or sometimes you will lack the motivation/pep. Getting it done in the morning really works for me.

What would you recommend to new runners who want to complete their first marathon?

I say you can do it! If you want to run a marathon, go for it! I am not a super driven or motivated person so if I can do it, anyone can. My husband has said to me before, “for being a marathon runner, you’re the biggest quitter I know”. Haha!

Start out by running for a minute and walking for a minute. Or start out by running to that tree or that pole and walking some. Start with a total of 20 or 30 minutes. You could train at a track to start with but that gets boring fast. When I’m just starting my training (like after I have a baby) I am looking at my watch about every minute. I am DY-ING! You won’t be setting any speed records at first and that is OK! After a few weeks, you’ll be ready to run for two minutes and walk for 30 seconds or so. You will just keep improving. You will be so proud of yourself. You will want to tell someone how amazing you are but you will wonder who would understand.

If you can find some friends to train with it makes it a lot more fun. I’ve trained with and without a friend. With a friend is much more enjoyable. My running friends are some of the best friends I’ve had in my life. Sharing those tough miles makes lifelong bonds.

My goal at first was to run a 5K one summer, a 10K the next, a half marathon the following summer, and a full marathon last.  I got to where 3 miles was my usual routine and then one day I would think, “Hey, I’m not that tired. I could keep going.” The next thing I know I was up to 5 or 6 miles for my normal routine. Then it would happen again. I would think, “I’ve still got some gas left in the tank. I’m going to run another mile.” There are marathon training programs online that a lot of people follow but I have never used one.

Out of 151 marathons, which are some of your favorites?

Ogden Marathon in May is one of my favorite races of the year. It is beautiful. St George is in October and is another favorite. I have the local races I do every year. I’ve run in 18 different states. Running a new race is always an adventure. We took a road trip to Amarillo TX a week ago. I loved the green flat open spaces. It is always fun to try a new race. I love meeting new people and seeing new places. I’ve run Boston twice; in 2009 and 2016. I don’t qualify for Boston unless all the stars align. I have to have the perfect race. The Boston Marathon was a treat.

My husband is a big part of my success. He supports me signing up for races and getting my training in. He knows I’m a better person with a little running in my life.

My pace is slowing down but I’m still enjoying the journey. Slow and steady wins the race. Running has opened doors and brought joy in my life. I hope I’ve got a lot of miles left in me!

Click here to see my marathon page.

My name is Cathi Gridley. I grew up in Maryland until I was 12 and then moved to Bountiful UT where I graduated from high school. I am 45 years old. I live in Syracuse UT. I have a degree from the University of Utah in Sociology. I have been married for 24 years to Gordon. We have 7 children ranging in age from 23 to 12. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I started running at age 22. I began running marathons at 29.  I am an ordinary gal who is hooked on running 🙂

Presidents Day and the Presidential Physical Fitness Test

Today many are enjoying a day off of work in honor of some of America’s greatest presidents with the President’s Day holiday. This got us at Zims reminiscing about a memorable era of fitness directed by the president himself: the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Could this rite of passage in gym classes for so many years be a gauge of fitness today? Let’s take a look.

The Presidential Physical Fitness Test has an interesting backstory. It started in 1956 when President Eisenhower created the President’s Council on Youth Fitness (current name President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition). In 1966 President Johnson created the Presidential Physical Fitness Award which created the idea of the test in schools. It originally included a softball throw, a broad jump, a 50-yard dash and a 600-yard walk/run.

However, where many of us probably first heard about the test is in the late 80s and early 90s when President HW Bush put an emphasis on it and appointed actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead the initiative.

At that time the test included 5 main components:

(expected numbers listed are for 10 year old boys and girls)

Pull ups (or sometimes push ups)- 6 for boys, 2 for girls

Sit-and-Reach- 30 for boys, 33 for girls

Sit ups (or curls)- 45 for boys, 40 for girls

30 ft Shuttle Run- 10.3 for boys, 10.8 for girls

One-Mile Run (wasn’t this the bane of every kids existence growing up?)- 8 min for boys, 9 minutes for girls

The problem  with the Presidential Fitness Test is its competitive nature. Instead of focusing on individual health and improvement it pitted kids against each other. By declaring certain kids as athletic and others as below average it may have discouraged athletic participation more than it helped.

However, the test itself is interesting. It covers upper body strength with pull up, flexibility with sit and reach, cardiovascular strength and endurance with the runs and muscle strength with the sit-ups. Theoretically if we worked on these areas we would be a very healthy person.

There isn’t a trainer alive who would argue focusing on these 5 areas is a good basis for physical fitness. The problem is when we compare our results to others and get discouraged. Nevertheless, if you added an element of each of the fitness categories covered to your workout you’d be a healthier person.

This Presidents Day hopefully we can get some inspiration from our past presidents and the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. It’s a fun part of recent American History and a helpful tool in designing a workout program.

Do you have memories of taking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test as a child? Hopefully they aren’t too traumatizing to share with all of us in the comments section!

Happy Valentines: Why Couples Workouts Work

Happy Valentines Day! Here at Zims we believe in cultivating a healthy active lifestyle, and if we are lucky enough to have a significant other this Valentines Day he or she can be a big help in achieving our fitness goals.

There are several benefits to setting fitness goals with our partners:

  1. Companionship- ever since Adam was lonely in the Garden of Eden human beings have worked best in teams rather than solo journeys. A partner or friend can help encourage us when the fitness is difficult. They can distract us with fun conversation. Studies have even shown we can fall in love with our partner more as we exercise together! (Psychology Today, 2014).
  2. Accountability- setting a fitness goal with another person, especially a spouse, is a great way to keep us accountable for our goals. Some mornings it’s hard to wake up and get going. The last thing we want to do is exercise but the helpful encouragement of a person we love can get us out the door. They can also get us to put down that donut and reach for the fruit at the neighborhood potluck. We can fudge details to a trainer or dietician but not to our spouse

  3.  Better workouts- According to Psychology Today working out with another person actually gives us more energy and makes us exercise harder than we do alone. “Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output. Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence” (Psychology Today, 2014)
  4. Shared Memories- exercise goals are a lot of work and rather than sharing this intense experience with bland people at the gym why not share it with the person you love most? For example, if you have a goal to run a marathon, doing it with your partner will not only give you a shared memory of finishing the race but all the mini-runs along the way to prepare.

There are many other reasons that exercising with your partner is a great idea and perhaps the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day the whole year round! If you want some fun ideas for specific workouts you can do together as a couple check out this article from Cosmo magazine click here.

Have you had success exercising with your partner? Does it make it more fun or do you prefer a solo fitness regimen? Let us know in the comments section!  


Setting Goals

Goal setting is an important part of improving and growing as human beings. While a certain degree of self-acceptance is necessary for happiness, it is also equally important that we try to evolve and expand our horizons each day. With the start of another year upon us many will be setting New Year’s goals or resolutions. Most of these will fail but even the attempt can be valuable. But what can make us more likely to achieve our goals? We came up with a list of suggestions that will help us achieve our goals but let us know what works best for you.

First, it might sound simple but anything we can do to combat depression and discouragement will help us achieve our goals. Many during the winter experience seasonal affective disorder where the grayness of winter months really starts to get us down. If we are feeling this way we are less likely to be motivated to try new things and stay committed to our goals. There are many solutions for seasonal affective disorder but one helpful tip can be buying a light therapy lamp that simulates natural light we are missing in the winter.

Light Therapy Lamp

Second, try and involve a friend in your goal setting. As human beings we crave companionship especially when trying something new or uncomfortable. We are often lazy creatures and a motivated partner will help us get out of bed and achieve our goals. There are tons of benefits to having an accountability partner or group. These range from getting feedback and advice to psychological factors like performing better in front of others. No matter which particular area you need help with, there’s no denying the benefit of having an accountability partner.

Friends Waving

Third, have confidence in yourself. If we don’t believe we can achieve our goals, who else will? In the end, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy if we don’t believe we can do it and then we don’t do it. We shouldn’t set goals that are unrealistic or out of our control to accomplish but we should start out with as much confidence as we can muster and then try to keep that confidence as long as we can throughout the project or goal.

Can Cant

Fourth, have a plan for how you want to accomplish your goal. As the saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Part of planning for a successful goal is setting mini goals you can achieve along the way. So if your goal is to read 100 books in 2019 you can set a mini-goal to read 10 in January. This helps us feel like we are accomplishing our goals when they may actually be pretty far off.

A Goal without a plan

Lastly, remember to have fun with your goals! If the entire thing is a miserable process, what’s the point of all of this? After all, you don’t want to improve into being an unhappy person! Whatever our strategy is, setting goals is very important, if only to help us determine what we want out of life and where we hope to go. Hopefully these tips have been helpful. We would love to hear what you do to achieve your yearly goals. Let us know in this blog or on our social media!

When to Use External Analgesics


You’re sore from your workout. You’re hurting from chronic aches and pains. Maybe you went too hard playing back yard football with the kids and now you’re paying for it. Whatever the source of your achy muscles and joints, you want relief. If you’re looking for a solution besides OTC internal analgesics, external analgesics may be what you need. Also known as topical pain relievers, these products are applied on the skin directly at the source of the pain, rather than going through the digestive system and liver to be disseminated through the body. There are many great reasons to use external analgesics and we’re going to cover them, as well as some of the cons, so you can make the most educated decision possible when looking to relieve your pains and discomforts.

Despite being generally accepted as safe, ingesting internal analgesics can have negative effects on the body, especially the liver. The FDA has some good tips on avoiding liver damage, which include not taking the medication if you consume over a certain amount of alcohol daily and following proper dosage amounts. More powerful ingested pain relievers can have very addictive properties, unfortunately contributing to the opioid epidemic. For these reasons, and others like them, external analgesics are preferred. Zim’s MaxFreeze is non-habit forming and is not digested. Instead, it is applied directly to the source of the pain, outside of the skin.

Along this same line, because external analgesics are applied directly to the location of the pain, they act very quickly. Ingested medications must be processed in the body before being sent out all over. External analgesics are put right on the source and work fast. No pain-relief is wasted on areas that don’t need it. Zim’s offers three convenient means of application: continuous spray for fast, convenient application, roll-on stick for no mess application, and gel for total coverage and absorption.

The biggest downside to many external analgesics is that they have a strong, not-always-pleasant, scent. This usually comes from the primary active ingredient, which could be menthol or salicylate. Zim’s MaxFreeze has a quick vanishing scent, so you can apply it to your sore spots then get on with your day.