Erin Azar isn't your average fitness influencer.
Yes, the 37-year-old Pennsylvania mom documents her runs on TikTok as she trains for the New Jersey Marathon. But no, she doesn't only show the glamorous parts of training.
Actually, there's nothing glamorous about Azar's runs at all -- that's the way she likes it. She says that's what makes her relatable.
"Welcome to another installment of a slightly overweight person who drinks too much beer," says Azar of Kutztown -- who goes by Mrs. Space Cadet on TikTok.
Her videos show her foggy glasses and her sweaty crotch. She talks about being half-a-mile into a four-mile run and having to pee.
She slams her phone into flowers for "aggressive nature shots" and films herself being pelted with snow as she runs through "tree tunnels."
The comic relief is just what Azar needs: She keeps herself laughing and the miles seem a lot less grueling.
"I feel like the more people see the normal people running," said Azar, "then the more people will have better motivation and know they can try it too."
Azar wasn't always a runner. She began in 2019 after the birth of her third child.
"I was mentally and physically not feeling well," she recalls. "I was exhausted, but one day I just went outside and put on my sneakers with holes in them and ratty clothes, and just started running."
Something began happening in her brain. Azar suddenly felt a lot happier. More clear-minded.
Running was just the release that Azar was looking for.
One day in 2019 while Azar was filming a run for YouTube, the runner's high seemed to hit harder than usual, and Azar announced she was going to run a marathon.
After that, she began training seriously with coach Alysha Flynn, or WhatRunsYou on TikTok.
In November 2019, Azar switched her videos from YouTube to TikTok, where one of her first-ever runs went viral with almost 3 million views.
"It was something that people obviously relate to, and I decided I was just going to keep going," she said.
But then, a few months later, COVID-19 hit and the Philadelphia Marathon got cancelled.
Azar, however, had already built a large platform and didn't want to let herself or anyone else down.
And so, she continued training and filming.
Just before the race during some of her longest runs, Azar began experiencing some serious self-doubt.
"I remember it was a 15-mile run and it took everything out of me," she said. "It was horrible and I don't know how I did it. I cried at the end."
But, the weekend of the race, she showed up and ran the full 26.2 mile race with her coach.
"It was really rough because there was no fanfare or anyone handing out hydration or fuel," Azar said. "But I’m glad I did it."
In hopes of getting a true marathon experience, Azar signed up for the New Jersey Marathon, set for Oct. 16.
And she's filming every single run. The good, the bad and the ugly.
"What's up I'm Erin I run a 13-minute mile and I'm training for the New Jersey Marathon," she says in nearly every run video. "Today I have to run 12 miles and I'm a little scared."
In one video, Azar times how long her face stays a ripe shade of tomato red after a run on the Jersey Shore.
"Five minutes. Twenty minutes. Eternity," she writes in her video.
The truth is, Azar doesn't care what she looks like or how fast she's going.
Her goal is to finish every run, keep others inspired and being nothing other than authentic.
"There's a lot of gatekeeping in the fitness community," she said. "I feel like there's this standard for fitness influencers where you have to be serious and you have to diet on point and you have to be trying to get faster with your times.
"But I feel like that mentality will push people away from wanting to try to achieve something greater than themselves.
"For me, I just want to run 26.2 miles and I don't care if I have a 13-minute mile pace. I just want to have the experience and sense of accomplishment. I just enjoy showing that."
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