ANOTHER
MOTHER RUNNER

Watch Out, Boston: Here Comes Bethany!

bethany meyer stretching low-res
With four boys, Bethany Meyer has plenty of time for contemplative photo shoots like this one.

Big day around AMR, as we've got a new columnist to announce. Ms. Bethany Meyer, a talented writer and runner who introduces herself much better below than I ever could. We are working with Stonyfield Organic Yogurt, and they generously offered us a number for a mother runner in the Boston Marathon. Having run with Bethany at Ragnar and having worked with her on essay in Tales From Another Mother Runner, we knew she was a perfect fit—especially because she and I—Dimity—share the exactly same birthday. (Yeah, Taurus mother runners!) We know you'll agree. Bethany will write one more post in December, and once her training ramps up in January, she'll grace the pages of AMR twice a month. Without further ado...

I open my eyes before my alarm sounds. It is the steady beat of the rain that wakes me. The temperature dropped overnight. I pull the covers over my shoulders and take mental inventory of the day ahead.

Grocery store. Writing deadline. Parent/teacher conference.

What does my training call for today?

A 40-minute hill workout.

Oof.

I don’t know if I have it in me today. Not in this rain. Not in this cold. Not with this writing deadline. I think about where I can fit the hills into tomorrow’s schedule, and I remember what today is.

Today is the day my girlfriend is having her surgery. My girlfriend who is in her 30s. Who runs like the wind. Mother to three kids under 5 years old.

And I lie in my bed hating cancer.

I grab my phone and text her, “I think this weather is the universe’s way of getting the wet stuff out of the way so that we can run in the sunshine once you’re recovered! Just another step in your journey. Keep looking forward! XOXO”

Shortly after, I lace up my sneakers, determined to beat that hill into the ground. The rain drenches me. I feel it, but I don’t. My hands are instantly wet and cold. I care, but I don’t. The tears fall freely as I drive, while I run, and in the car after I’m finished.

Bethany and her testosterone-heavy brood.
Bethany and her testosterone-heavy brood.

As a Mom of four boys, I don’t get many opportunities to talk about girl power. But it is a force in my life. So strong is its presence I feel like I can almost reach out and touch it. I’m not talking the anything-he-can-do-I-can-do-better variety. At 40 years old, girl power means surrounding myself with a tribe of women who make me a better me. They are my soft place to fall, and I wouldn’t be whole without them. We lift one another up. We laugh. We cry. We worry. We dream. We forgive one another’s shortcomings--even those we find hardest to forgive ourselves. On our rainiest days when we struggle to find the joy, the women in our front row remind us that the sunshine is up ahead. It’s just around the corner.

I met Dimity and Sarah in October 2013, when I competed on Sarah’s Ragnar DC team. They are, in person, exactly the same as they are when you read them. Except taller. Sarah and I became fast friends. We were in the same van, slept side by side on the wet grass of a playground, and bonded over countless jokes that are only funny if you were there.

My friendship with Dimity has been cemented virtually. And over our shared birthday. I was eager to meet both of them in person. But I was just as excited to meet the 22 women who comprised their individual Ragnar DC teams. We had all been members of a private Facebook group leading up to the race. I didn’t know these women in real life, but they were already my friends. We came in all different shapes and sizes. Varying speeds. In a variety of ages. Hailing from all different parts of the country. Some worked outside the home, others didn’t. All Moms. The only thing fuller than our hearts were our calendars. One weekend last fall when the stars aligned, twenty four Moms relegated our duties and got together to run. We were up for an adventure. And we brought the joy.

Ragnar was--and remains--one of my all-time favorite running experiences.

Every one of those women from Ragnar is still in my life. The Facebook group is stronger than ever. We go there for advice. To vent. To encourage and to seek encouragement. To share the tiniest of victories. To wish one or more of us good luck on a big race day. To receive a virtual kiss on our recently skinned knees. Girl power and joy are alive and well within our group.

One of my favorite vanmates from Ragnar is Terri. Quirky, funny, and compassionate. She has a decade of life, experience, and heartbreak on me. She is sunshine in abundance. Terri ran the NYC Marathon earlier this month. Before her race, Terri’s husband e-mailed me, asking for a short message that she could carry with her and read when she needed inspiration. I wrote something I knew would make her smile. And, just like that, her race was my race. On race day, she wore a shirt with the five boroughs listed on the back, with check marks next to each borough. She ran with a Sharpie and asked spectators to check off the box representing each borough as she completed it. And, just like that, her race was their race. She made all of us part of her experience. Terri's special gift is bringing the joy.  

Terri hearting every step of the 2014 NYC Marathon.
Terri hearting every step of the 2014 NYC Marathon.

I am grateful my girlfriend’s surgery went well. I am fortunate for the race that brought Terri into my life. I am blessed to have grown my friendships with the women I met through Ragnar DC. I’m lucky to be part of this bigger community, Another Mother Runner, born from a series of emails between two writers for Runner's World. Two women I now call friends.

My friends Dimity and Sarah asked me, on behalf of the AMR community, to run the 2015 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Stonyfield.

Which ranks up there as pretty much the coolest thing ever.

As I prepare to start my training, I think about what this community has meant to me during these past few years. These years when my children are young. These years that are overwhelmingly about everyone but me. These years when this virtual community--just like my closest girlfriends--has given me support. Respect. Encouragement. Laughter. Forgiveness. Perspective. When life gets cruel--and it does--I come here for kindness.

How, on April 20th, can I best represent you?

By running with joy.

I will do the training. I will log the miles. I will foam roll, strength train, make smart food choices (read: Stonyfield Organic Yogurt!), rest my body. I will tell you stories that will introduce you to the five people I love most in this world. Stories that may leave you wondering why we don’t have our own reality show.

I ask in return that you help me.

This will be my very first marathon. I’m equal parts exhilarated and frightened.

Please be a part of my experience.

I want so very much to run like my friend Terri. Please help me bring the joy.

Give me advice.

Suggest an upbeat song for my run mix.

Remind me to smile.

High-five me if you see me.

Send injury-free thoughts my way.

Pray to the god of toenails that mine stay on.

Send me a healthy recipe--preferably one that tastes good.

Look the other way if I confess to eating a chocolate chip cookie bar--better yet, eat one with me.

That morning I wake up with a stiff neck from sleeping on the floor next to a child who's been vomiting every hour on the hour? Remind me that the running is the fun part.

Root for me.

I will be representing Another Mother Runner as part of Team Stonyfield in the 2015 Boston Marathon, but I can’t do it alone.

fourcast-6543
Girl power. Amen.

Girl power, ladies.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Oh, and my name is Bethany.

I’m pleased to meet you.

50 responses to “Watch Out, Boston: Here Comes Bethany!

  1. I am really excited for you. I LOVED my first marathon and running it for AMR will it make it totally amazing for you Bethany. My first tip (and I hope to find plenty to send you) is that when you have had a night of no sleep thanks to sick kids, take a gel and get yourself out the door high on the caffeine…. Worked for me every time!

  2. “These years that are overwhelmingly about everyone but me.” That line is the tagline of my life right now.

    I can’t wait to follow your story, Bethany!

  3. “These years that are overwhelmingly about everyone but me.”

    Hang in there. You are not alone!

    Wishing you a strong body and an even stronger mind. You can do this!

  4. Wow. Just wow. Love this Bethany gal. Love the pic of you with the 4 boys. Love that you were in Sarah’s van for Ragnar. (We have that in common) I will likely never run Boston. I’m on your team, though… so run mama run! This tribe member is behind you.

  5. oh i just love the style of your post and can identify completely with your life. you made me smile and that is a gift that never gets old – either in the giving or the receiving. thank you and best of luck in all your training.

  6. A big high-five to a fellow Philadelphian and boy mom!!!! Can’t wait to read your posts! Keep us updated on your local runs and favorite routes too!

  7. As usual, good choice AMR! As I read your writing,Bethany, I thought, “nice…I like the style!” And then when you mentioned awakening with the stiff neck from lying on the floor by a vomiting child, I thought “gasp! It’s not just me?!” I love the way this website puts a meaningful voice to our everyday lives…looking forward to more.

  8. Oh Bethany, I like you already! I was on the Ragnar14 team and feel the same about our group. Ditto about Sarah and Dimity, too. And the AMR tribe. I look forward to cheering you on in the coming months. Girl power!

  9. Your opening post gave me chills – can’t wait to follow along with your journey! (and, I just enjoyed a peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bar, so I know we’ll get along!)

  10. So happy to know you! Thanks for the great intro. Know that you have many following you in your training. You will be awesome because of the joy. I can feel it.

  11. I can’t wait to follow along on your journey! I am training for Big Sur just a week after Boston so we’ll be on similar schedules. After finishing my first Ironman in Chattanooga in September, I am finally getting my butt back in gear. I look forward to cheering you on to your first marathon finish! Oh, and I have 2 boys, myself. 5 and 2 1/2. The only other girl in my house is our beloved dog, Haylie, so I can kinda relate to all the testosterone!

  12. So nice to meet you. I look forward to following your journey to Boston and cheering you on every step of the way! Girl power, indeed!

  13. I am going to love reading your submissions and following you Bethany. I just ran my first half marathon last Sunday (Big Sur) and have no desire to EVER run a marathon! (I’m 58 and only started seriously running at 55.). But I am a great cheerleader and commenter so you can count on me for support! My best to you.

  14. Hey, I have 4 boys too! And they look very much like yours (ages 16, 12, 11, and 7). And I just ran my second marathon. I had incredible support from my family, my sister, and my AMR Strava group. I love girl power too! I have to have “American Girl” by Tom Petty, “…after all it is a great big world…with lots of places to run to..”

  15. Welcome! I can’t wait to read more of your posts…and be a part of the journey to Boston with you! Thanks for sharing your story…and your amazing gift as a writer.

  16. Bethany – thanks for the wonderful blog. I can’t wait to follow your story, cheer you along and hopefully following the journey in parallel as I contemplate my first fall marathon.

    This is going to be awesome!

  17. Hey Bethany, I’m Kate. I also have 4 boys and just ran my first marathon (Marine Corps). I like to think my boys get their fair share of girl power from the wonderful mother runners I get to share my runs with. I look forward to hearing about yours.

  18. Bethany, you have such a gift with words. I’d be honored to be even a small part of your journey. Thank you for sharing your gift and your story with this community. We’re behind you every step of the way.

  19. This was beautiful, and you so eloquently found the words that my heart feels for my BRFs. Keeping you in my heart as you train for us. Boston: wow! What an amazing experience/opportunity! Go Bethany GO!

  20. Wow. Even tho we’ve just met you, Bethany, I can already tell, YOU ROCK! 🙂 Like many others commented, your post brought tears to my eyes and truly moved me. Something about your text to your girlfriend “…just another step in your journey” really spoke to me. It’s a philosophy I need to institute in my life more than ever right now. I’m excited for your journey to Boston and look forward to hearing every detail you share with us. I’m a newbie runner so I can’t offer much experience but I do have a go-to song that never fails to get me through a rough training run and push me a little faster towards a finish line. I’m hesitant to share it, scared that once I let it out, the secret mojo will stop working. At the same time, I want so badly to share it in hopes it can help another mother runner as much as I believe it has helped me, so here goes. My Chemical Romance, Planetary (Go!). I hope you love it like I do. Take it and RUN!

  21. Wahoo! What fun!! Can’t wait to hang out with you on this journey! (and if you can handle four boys, you can handle a marathon!!)

  22. Hi Bethany. My name is Ruthann. Your post today is awesome. It surrounded my heart with your good energy and has helped me along my day. You are one BAMR for sure.

  23. Wow, Bethany, you are a gifted writer! As a mom to 2 little girls (3 and 4), I am even more inspired to instill girl power in them! I am also a Bostonian and although I’ve just completed 2 half’s and not going for a full marathon anytime soon, I can tell that you will rock it and we are here to support you. I imagine it will be one of the best days of your life!

  24. This is very exciting to read! Love the post and am looking forward to sharing your journey with you and sending encouragement as well!

  25. Awesome, awesome post! I look forward to following your journey. Having never run a full marathon, I have no advice for that, but I can offer two song suggestions for your training runs: “Running” by John Newman and “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now” by Needtobreathe. 🙂

  26. Nice to meet you as well Bethany! I’m so excited to go on your 26.2 journey with you! My only advice is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and ALWAYS, no matter what, pat yourself on the back for getting it done! When the going gets tough, just know the tribe is behind you with love and encouragement.

    Girl power! I love this tribe, this place SBS and Dimity have created for us to meet,inspire, and encourage other mother runners. I was on the Ragnar Napa Valley team and was blessed to meet 11 other mother runners that GET it! They get what my life is like and what running brings to it. But the whole tribe gets it too! We are blessed. I will be looking forward to your posts.

  27. Fabulous post! I look forward to following along on your journey. Boston is such a special race…and you will rock it!
    Also, love the pic of Terri from NYC. I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of months ago when I ran Mt. Nittany marathon…”sunshine in abundance” is a perfect description of her!

  28. Thank you for inviting us on your adventure. It will be our pleasure to buoy you up and ride along. I’m off to the San Diego 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk this weekend. Girl Power x 60 miles! Can’t wait!

  29. Holy wow. You had me tearing up. You are going to crush the 26.2. My advice? Don’t beat yourself up when a long run is a ‘bad’ run. Hoping your training goes great!!!

  30. Wow. Love this. Was on Napa Ragnar team, contemplating my first marathon in May (and a Ragnar teammate offered to run with me, very cool). Need to go find you on FaceBook.

  31. I cannot wait to come along for the ride of your training and race! I was smiling and teary reading your introduction. I am so incredibly excited for you and look forward to the months ahead!

  32. I am excited to follow your journey. Your perspective and love for life, family and running is incredibly uplifting…exactly the thing I need right now!

  33. I loved reading your first post! I look forward to the next one and will enjoy sharing your journey to your first marathon with you. I just ran my first marathon a couple months ago. What an accomplishment. I am so excited for you!

  34. Bethany,,,,, itt is 5am, I am about to go run, but now I have tears. Yes, running , family and friends, this is what brings us joy. We all need to be reminded of this every day ( and eat a little chocoalte). I am so excited to hear about your journey and to cheer you on.

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