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Why I Run: Ginny Flynn

Fastinista: You may recognize Ginny from SBS's running and fashion Runner's World article

Let’s find out what gets Ginny Flynn, a mom of three in Richmond, Virginia, running. Then saunter over to her blog or find her on Twitter.

Plenty of women out in the world take up running to lose weight. They like their sweets, and they run in an effort to avoid adopting the general Twinkie body type. You know: Apple, Pear, Twinkie, and Giselle.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m as vain as the next girl. I run for fitness and to fit in to my skinny jeans from LOFT. The efforts have paid off for the most part. I mean, Victoria’s Secret isn’t going to offer me a contract this season, but I do okay.

But that’s not the reason I run.

I run to stay young, and by “young” I mean, clinging to the ideals of a teenager.

The teenage example I’m talking about is the attitude that screams, “Just WATCH me go prove you wrong”. For now I’m passing on the route that includes piercings, a neck-wrenching hair flip, and the 26.2 tat. Though, I admit, the ink sounds more and more appealing every day.

It’s like I’m being defiant every time I step out onto the street with my shoes laced for a run. I shrug off “mom” label, peel the “you can’t do that” sticker away, and wipe the grape jelly off the front of my shirt. I’m a mom; it’s not always glamorous out here.

Running is my little rebellion against the people who said I couldn’t do it at my age, and with all of those kids at home. The people who said, “It’s too dangerous” (really? Is that the best you’ve got?); “It’s stupid to try if you can’t win” (“stupid” is not a word we allow in our home, and besides, who says I can’t win?); or my personal favorite, “it’s harder than you think.”

Yeah,I get that. Running is really hard. But hard is why I’m here testing the limits of my 30-something-year-old body. Hard is the reason I don’t give up even when I’d like to lay down in the dirt and take a nap. Hard is a familiar place of pain mingled with glory that every mother recognizes on some level.

I run because it’s hard. It makes my rebellion that much sweeter.

25 responses to “Why I Run: Ginny Flynn

  1. As someone who came to running kicking and screaming at the age of 44, I never thought of myself as a ‘running rebel’ or ‘non-conformist’, but guess perhaps I am. I certainly like that I’m doing something that most (of my friends/acquaintances) won’t. In fact, I recently told my training partner that I really want the 10K to be ‘my’ race, because that’s one that is ‘odd’. Everyone does 5Ks, and ‘real’ runners do 1/2s and marathons; the 10K is quirky, different, unique, a little bit tough, and that’s what I want to be…I also never thought about choosing to do something ‘hard’. Does that even make sense? I mean, really, isn’t life hard enough with work, kids, house, spouse, church, family, etc. But it’s the ‘hard’ that makes it so gratifying when it’s right, when it works, when the run took the stress out of my day. Thanks for helping me re-frame the run. When I’m on a long run, I’ll remember, it’s the ‘hard’ that makes me strong, unique, tough, ME! and be thankful for it.

    Love the part about peeling off the labels. I love love LOVE putting ON the label ‘runner’. That label was one of the things that actually drew me TO running. I hated how it felt to run, but loved how it felt to say ‘I ran’. 🙂 And now, I love the looks I get from others when I say it. 😎

    Thanks for a great post, Ginny!

  2. I started running at 50 – as a way to prove to my “young” mom friends that I didn’t like it and I couldn’t do it – guess what, I’m still running a year later (20 miles a week) and training for my first half. funny how the younger mamas kept encouraging me and friends that are my age kept telling me that it’s crazy -I think they must be jealous of what I’ve found out there on the road

  3. Why other people bring their dark cloud to other’s is beyond my comprehension. I think I am forever a teen in my own state of “don’t say I can’t, because I will.” Heck yeah,for mental youthful optimism! Love the outfit!

  4. Love it! I just received a FB message asking me if there was an easy way to do a Half IronMan (“like where you can ride the whole way”). My response was “there’s no fun in easy”. You just confirmed that! You go, Girl!

  5. I actually had someone tell me, “well, just remember you have kids!” Like running is gonna make me somehow forget about them! Crazy

  6. I started running at 32 after my first baby- didn’t even occur to me that some might think I was old 🙂 I actually out pace my girlfriend who are in their mid 20s and childless!

  7. Right on, Ginny! My husband has been a runner for a very long time, so he views my entry in to the arena as an afterthought. To fight this attitude, I run by myself, only allow songs sung by women about girl power on my play list and train for races that I love-Disney, the Mermaid Series, Nike Women’s Marathon, etc. I’m claiming running as an empowerment endeavor, and it gives me plenty of ‘girl power’ to stand up to the guys in my life that think they can do it better.

  8. Love it, love it, love it, LOVE IT!!!! tell them to eat your running shoe dust! Way to keep on trucking mom.

    Love this line ” Running is my little rebellion against the people who said I couldn’t do it at my age, and with all of those kids at home”

    I will never be ceased to be amazed of all the weird hurtful stuff people can tell mothers who are trying to do something for themselves. Keep up the GREAT work.

    As a mother of 5 children ages 11 ( earned her wings), 8, 7, 5 & 2 & a mommy who runs every day….you go momma go! can you hear me cheering you on all the way from MD.

    Here’s a question I was asked while I went to pick out a new pair of running shoes a few months ago at our local running store. Mind you I had 3 of my kids with me that day. Question: how many miles do you run a week. I had to think as I was not keeping track of that…so I think about it and give them my # They look at me & say what race are you training for? & Why are you running so much each week. Me: really???? Dude….I have 5 kids & the race I’m running for is my life!!!! I always joke…. ” Got kids? Run mom run!” Our kids all know I run everyday & that is my time. The rest of the day my family has me.

    Thank you SO much for sharing your story. I loved it! I love this group.

  9. AMEN! I’ve heard all the reasons why I shouldn’t have started running at 42 (45 now) but thankfully I didn’t listen. Running makes me feel like I am part of an elite, non-conformist subculture and I sure don’t feel like the mom of a kindergartener when I hit the road. Keep on running like a rock star!

  10. My mom’s response to me running …to my sister was”she is 35 for gosh sakes….she’s gonna kil herself”…yeah momma would have got an ear full from me

    1. Laughing out loud ~ I get that all the time from the non-runner in my life. “You’re going to kill yourself doing that every day.” I think at this point I’m a far greater danger to myself if I don’t “do ‘that’ every day.”

  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing.

    I’m tickled whenever someone asks me “What was your time?”. It’s cool to know if that what you’re concerned about but I’m pretty much from simply finishing a race.

  12. Someone once asked me if I was going to win one of my races. The idea startled me so much that I burst out laughing. Win? As in cross-the-finish-line-first win? Are they serious? Because for me, just getting to the finish is a win.

    Really, in any race there are maybe 10 people who have any chance at finishing first. The rest of us really ought to be enjoying ourselves along the way. 🙂

    1. Ginny, great “Why I Run”post! -I am a 56 year old grandmother who runs and have had some negative comments like you have had. I started running at 50, partly as part of a healing process of tragedy in my life. Now my healing process includes running half marathons and running 4-6 miles every other day and I too can still fit in my skinny jeans!! But more than that, I run to be an example to my adult children, my precious grandsons and the students I teach. I guess I am a bada$$ grandmother runner!!! Keep it up, running is really a youth elixir!!

    2. Alisa, I wrote something about this… there’s a link to it, “Social Elite”, in the side bar of my blog. You pretty much nailed it there. There’s only really 1 winner… so why are the rest of us out there? Well, we have our reasons.

  13. This was great! Rebellion is a good thing. Stupid to try if you’re not going to win?? Wow,you show them! We win every time we get out there!

  14. When she said she wanted the ideals of a teen, I was like huh? But I totally understand. I must be blessed with such supportive people in my life; I never have had anyone tell me I can’t run.

  15. OMGosh – I l.o.v.e this! I love the part about the labels being peeled away – ahem, grape jelly! One of my high school friends little sisters just had her first baby – she posted pics on on FB and I commented on how from now on she’ll be finding mystery splatters and crust-ees on her clothing – oh and NEVER poop alone again! lol!

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