I’m a runner. I wasn’t always a runner. In fact, I wasn’t truly a runner until I was a mother. I ran casually in college, simply to “not get fat”. For a decade, I ran a few miles a few times a week, and hated nearly every minute of it. It was hard, I was alone, and it always meant I needed a shower. It didn’t even really keep me from gaining weight.
After my first child was born, I was desperate to be skinny (not a great motivator, I know). So I tried to run more. I still hated it. A few miles a few times a week. It was hard, boring, and relatively unfulfilling. Not to mention it ALWAYS took a backseat to absolutely everything else in my life. If the kids needed me, I’d skip my run. If I was tired, no run, just an extra episode of CSI before bed. Busy at work? Stay at work today, run tomorrow. I never made any progress and never wanted to run, EVER!
Until I owned it! I realized after my second child that I needed goals. “Not getting fat” is not a goal. Moreover, it’s not any fun to run several miles a week simply to “not get fat”. So, I registered for my first race, the Cleveland Half Marathon. It was an impossibly long distance as I had only ever run 4 miles at a time. However, the impossibly long distance required me to focus, follow a schedule. More importantly the impossibly long distance (as well as the $80 race entry fee) meant that I couldn’t skip a “training run”. My runs were no longer optional, and no longer able to take a back seat. Kids need me? Too bad, mamma’s got to run; I’ll see you all in half an hour! Busy at work? Sorry, I’ll finish the emails tomorrow, I’ve got a half marathon coming up and I need to be ready. Tired? Well, truth is I was far less tired because of all the regular exercise!
Here’s the thing. Running became the thing I did for me. I no longer hated every minute of it. Running was hard: but that meant that I was able to do one hard thing every day AND be successful! I was alone: yes, that meant 30-90 minutes all to myself, alone! I needed to take a shower after every run: Heck yeah, nice warm shower!
It was and still is hard to make the time. My life is prioritized as 1. Eat 2. Sleep 3. Run 4. Everything else. That means tough times when my kids need me, sometimes I put the run off but only for a few hours (actually, I started running at 5:30 am when the house is still asleep, guaranteeing I’d complete my work out).
My proudest moment: Half marathon at 30 weeks pregnant!
I am hands-down a better mother, wife and person because of my running. Why? I’ve got three reasons. The first is simple. Because I run my immune system is strong, I don’t catch that stupid cold my kid brings home from school. And fewer sick mommy days mean more quality mommy time. Second, running keeps my chemicals in check. It’s a fact that exercise boosts happy hormones (endorphins) and helps suppress stress hormones (cortisol). Because I run I’m quite literally a happier human and that means when my two year old screams at me, I’m far less likely to scream back. My third and favorite “running solves everything” reason however, is this: running is an escape, time to clear my head so that I can make room for the rest of life. When other moms look at me with shock as I discuss my upcoming marathon and then ask me, “Why do you do it?” my response is simple. I smile and tell her, “The more I run, the less I want to run away.”
-Liesa from Ohio
Want to read more? Check out these two books:
“Run like a Mother” by Sarah Bowen-Shea and Dimity Mcdowell
“Running for Women” by Kara Goucher
Want to hear from other mother runners? Visit anothermotherrunner.com to check out the tribe in action!