Heidi Langan is a knockout in many ways. She’s too modest to agree with me, but trust me when I tell you that she packs a punch. Right off the bat she will strike you with her stunning beauty. Then she speaks in her British accent, and you will want her to say simple words like “garage” and “water” because they sound much more elegant when she says them. Even more impressive are her incredibly creative talents – from her keen eye for fashion to the amazing calligraphy she uses on invitations. She has a gift for taking ordinary things and making them sparkle. She can single handedly put Pinterest to shame with her Elf on the Shelf and birthday party ideas. But Heidi’s true knockout punch is the strength and resilience she displays as a single mom and as a kick-ass runner.
Growing up in England, Heidi ran both track and cross country. She only hung up her sneakers briefly for a few years while she concentrated on dancing. She did however find her way back to it after her son Jaden was born eight years ago. With Jaden’s father not in the picture and her family in England, Heidi is running the show on her own. She has to manage her time more than most of us just to be able to get in her daily run; sneaking out if she can while Jaden is at school before she goes to work or during a weekend play-date. When preparing for her first marathon she relied on friends to help her with childcare during her long training runs. Her solo runs are her time to throw on some Eminem or Bon Jovi and escape from the manic reality of her life, as she put it.
While she always just ran for the joy and solace of it, Heidi took to racing back in 2011, often running to support local charities, and has been crushing records ever since. This girl wins her age group at most of her races. Heidi’s fastest 5k was 20.21…that’s a sub 7 minute mile smoke-show. She ran one of her best half marathons in 1 hour and 41 minutes. Her greatest feat yet was completing the New York City Marathon in 2014 (the Holy Grail for runners). At that race she represented Team Hole in the Wall Gang and raised over $3000 to help send critically ill children to camp through the foundation.
As a single mom, Heidi has worked tirelessly to provide for her son and to keep herself going as well. Life has thrown her some curveballs over the years, most of which she has taken in stride. A particularly challenging setback was when Heidi lost her job of 17 years as the manager of a clothing boutique when it abruptly closed. Heidi was at a loss of what she should do next. She had always taken to the road to work out her worries and this time was no different. It was during one of her runs that an idea was born. She had always heard people say, “You should do what you love, and if you can make a living from that, you are lucky.” She thought, “I love running, how can I make a living doing that?” Some of her friends thought she was crazy and was taking a huge risk. Heidi knew it would require a leap of faith, but held onto the quote from Christopher Columbus: “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
With that mantra in her head, she set off to share her love of running with others while still trying to provide for her family. She became a certified running coach and personal trainer. She started off by teaching running clinics for kids as an after school enrichment program. Then she added a “Couch to 5k” program for adults, which began on social media under her business name H4Fitness and took off from there. She now trains individual athletes looking to improve their speed and works with 5k, 10k and half marathon training groups. She is the head coach for the Race4Chase kids’ triathlon program at the Trumbull Y. She also teaches sewing and running groups as an after school instructor in addition to working as a part-time coach at Orange Theory fitness. Whatever she does in life, she does with all of her heart.
Although Jaden is often with her at races and training groups, Heidi never pushed him to run because she wanted him to find his own passion. Despite that, Jaden often chooses to join races on his own and has even completed a triathlon. It not only looks like Jaden has inherited Heidi’s gift of speed, but her compassion as well. At the recent Sandy Hook 5k, Heidi could hear him saying to himself, “I’m running for the 26 children,” as he completed the 3.1 miles. That had us both in tears. Jaden, by the way, also shares his mother’s love for music. He made for an excellent DJ during our chat and I especially appreciated when he broke out “Ice, Ice Baby” while we talked. It’s very clear everything that Heidi has worked hard to accomplish is for Jaden.
Heidi’s journey navigating being a single mom is inspirational in so many ways. She said that every day she has two choices – she can sit at home and sulk about her situation or she can put one foot in front of the other and keep going. She said, “I want more out of life, and in this family it’s up to me to create the life I want my son to have.” Heidi makes the choice every day to keep moving forward…and much like a race that takes strength, courage, love and endurance.
Heidi’s Runitlikeamom Run-Down:
- I have a son named Jaden who is 8 years old going on 18.
- I am a self-employed running coach/personal trainer for my business H4Fitness. I also work as a part time coach at Orange Theory Fitness. I also work in the public schools teaching running and sewing as an after school enrichment program.
- I stay active by running, coaching and playing with my son.
- My short term fitness goal is to run a sub 20 minute 5k. I just completed my long term fitness goal of running a marathon, so I am not sure of my next one just yet.
- My son is a comedian, he makes me laugh every day, I’m not sure I have just one funny thing he said recently.
- If I were stranded on a desert island with my son (assuming all basic needs are met) I would want Yahtzee or Backgammon, a ball and music.
- My favorite indulgences are a long Epsom salt bath and wine!