On Twitter, when I asked for suggestions of a mother-runner-blogger who is running the Boston Marathon to profile, the overwhelming response was Amanda Odum. I’m fortunate enough to know this 33-year-old mom of three as she lives here in Portland. Amanda is spunky and lovable—and super-speedy: She qualified twice last year with times of 3:30 and 3:24. The April 16 race will be her second Boston Marathon, as she ran it pre-kids in 2004 after qualifying in her first-ever ’thon. (Like I said…super-speedy.) Find out what fuels Amanda’s drive and passion. (Kleenex alert.)
Best recent run: Last October, my husband and I went on a simply PERFECT trail run in Forest Park here in Portland. It was the morning after a datenight, our kids were at their grandparents’ house, and I had a new pair of Brooks Cascadia trail shoes to break in (we bought them on our date). We had 10 miles of beautiful Oregon trails with the sun coming in through the trees and a promise of a wonderful day ahead of us. It is always a joy to run with my best friend while enjoying our beautiful state.
Back to Boston: When I first ran Boston in 2004, it was only my second marathon. I had no serious running goals except to have fun and finish. In fact, before qualifying, I didn’t even know what the Boston Marathon was. I was wide-eyed and open to possibilities as I experienced an entirely new world of running.
Eight years later, I will be racing the Boston Marathon again. This experience holds a great deal of emotion and meaning for me. In August of 2010, I experienced my first major injury, which kept me from running in the Portland Marathon where I had hoped to make a post-kids comeback and qualify for Boston 2011. My injury left me hungrier than ever before to make big things happen with my running, start my blog Runninghood, and get back to Boston. I’ve trained harder for this marathon than I’ve ever trained before, run more mileage than I ever thought I would, and never had more heart for running than I do now. I want this to be more than just a fun experience. This is the race of my life so far.
Savoring the time, not chasing the break: In the midst of running kids around, breaking up fights, wiping pee off the floor, and cooking meals, I find myself frequently “chasing the break” and going through the motions instead of savoring the daily moments with my kids. I’m tired; I want a break. Why can’t they just go play in their rooms? In a world of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, cell phones, and email, it is easy to find myself drawn to the computer way too often so that I can connect with other adults, process stress through writing in lieu of having a staff room to vent to colleagues, etc. I have to make a conscious effort to put social media aside at certain times so that I can be fully present in creating extraordinary memories with my kids just by being part of the ordinary every day with them. At the same time, I want to pursue my professional, personal, and athletic dreams. I believe we can do both. Finding this balance is so very important to me.
33: My dad is the deepest part of why I run, and it is through my running that I have been able to grieve and process the loss of the father that I never had the chance to know. He had passion, determination, and a will to run, even after breaking both his legs and being told he would never walk again. Just as he was starting to run again, he was killed in an accident. I know when I run that I am carrying on his dreams as well as my own. It has been the times in my life when I’ve needed a father the most that I’ve found him during a run. Whether it is finishing a marathon or running through an Iowa field under a full moon, he has been there to tell me he loves me and he is proud. He was 33 when he died, and now, at 33 I am just coming alive as a runner. I know he will be there to carry me through in Boston. This one is for you, Dad.
By the Brooks: I was thrilled to find out that Brooks accepted me for a media sponsorship this year. Because of my blog, my influence in the running community, and my passion for running, I have the honor of representing a fabulous company. This sponsorship is just one more step in making my dreams come true.
Most looking forward to: A huge difference between this Boston Marathon and eight years ago is that I will know so many people. I’m so excited to meet friends that I’ve meet through the blog world and travel with my friend and running partner Nicole from I Dream of Running.Oh, and of course I’m looking forward to being kid-free with my husband for five days in an awesome city!