Deborah Brooks, a McLean, Va. mother runner, recently shared a special running experience with her daughter Sammie, 17: together they coached a Girls on the Run team. “It was such an amazing experience for us to do together--I can’t wait to start up again this fall.” Deborah, 44, and her husband Matt also have a son, 14-year-old Max.
Best recent run: Two weeks ago while visiting a friend in Vermont I had the most beautiful, peaceful 8-mile run. It was great because it was my longest post-injury run (I had a stress fracture), and the scenery was so breathtaking I actually “stopped to smell the flowers” and take in the surroundings. I often forget to do that at home because I am so focused on a distance or a goal. Living near DC it’s easy to take for granted the amazing views we have.
Vegetarian Mother Runner: I became a vegetarian at 12 mostly as an adolescent rebellious move. I’ve remained a vegetarian because I believe in the health and wellness benefits the lifestyle provides me. I eat dairy and eggs because I feel that women athletes need the protein, calcium, and vitamins to stay strong especially as we age (sigh). The rest of my family members are not vegetarians (yet!). Right now I’m loving Tempeh as a protein source and my favorite recipe this summer is my rice noodle Tempeh edamame salad.
First thing I do after finishing a run: Upload our group “selfies,” of course! Then ice my shin, stretch, and hydrate.
Go-to songs on my playlist: Titanium, David Guetta; Best day of My Life, American Authors; Enjoy The Ride, Krewella.
My Running Mantra: “Run your own Race.” My trainer said this to me years ago and it just sort of stuck. For me, it’s important to remember I’m racing against me and I need to stick to MY plan for MY race. It’s easy to get swept up in race excitement and throw your plan out the window at the start line. In my experience this never ends well.
What I thought about during today’s run: Honestly, I’m thinking, “It’s really hot out today and what am I going to make for dinner this week?”
Most challenging aspect of being a mother runner: Feeling guilty sometimes about taking time for myself to run and do races.
What I cherish the most about being a mother runner: I hope I am setting good example to my children of the importance of healthy living and exercise and working toward a goal. I might not always achieve all of the goals I set out to, but I won’t stop trying. That’s a valuable lesson I hope to model to my kids.
What keeps me going when I hit a rough patch in a race: I think about how proud and supportive my family always is. Sometimes I will focus on one of them for a whole mile and this will distract me from feeling tired.
One of the most important things I’ve gained from running: Becoming involved with Moms Run This Town (MRTT) and starting a chapter 1.5 years ago has completely changed my life. I never imagined that I would meet and become friends with some of the most incredible, inspiring women. They are always there to motivate, encourage, and support each other. Being part of the running community, and MRTT nationwide, and seeing how we all support one another is more rewarding than I ever imagined. I’ve made incredible friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Plus, when you know someone is waiting for you at 0 dark thirty, you kind of have to show up for a run!
Best Mile Ever: Eight years ago I had ACL surgery after a ski accident. I had never been a runner. I heard a trainer say that I would never be able to run. I decided then and there to train for a sprint tri. I will never forget the first mile I ran around a track. I seriously thought I was going to die -- it was so hard, but I did it. Twelve weeks later I completed my first tri. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment I had that day. I will always respect the run.
My running, in three words: Strong, accomplished, hopeful.