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Best Mother Runner Moments of 2016: Role Mother Edition

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Our Role Mothers have consistently shown us grace, inspiration, and strength on the road and the race course, and as we wrap up 2016 we're asking for their best Mother Runner moments of the year. Read through their stories below:

 

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Melissa's view from a Retreat run

Melissa, the marathoner
Best part of my running year was heading to Spokane for the AMR Retreat. Although I’ve been running for close to 20 years now, I still feel there is much to learn about the sport and its people, and going to the Retreat did both of those things for me. It also renewed my love for running, and let’s be honest, that’s hard to do year in and year out, especially when age and the seasons and hardships of life always have a way of posing as the inevitable slippery banana on our running paths.

Completing the HR training challenge was another highlight, and reminded me that comparing myself and my running to others is a total waste of energy and thought, and no matter the pace or the place, I am forever #coachandloved. 2016 was full of life changes for me, including my firstborn heading to college and new opportunities in my writing and work, but I am forever grateful for the continued mental clarity and sanity that all those miles still provide me.

 

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Nicole was all smiles at home and in Jamaica

Nicole, the regular runner
There are two Mother Runner moments from 2016 that stick out as most memorable. Both happened toward the latter part of the year. The first was on the morning of October 25th. It was my novel’s pub day (The Thunder Beneath Us) and I knew the best way to kick off the day of joy was to hit the road running. Even the weather was playing nice that morning. It was chilly, but very sunny and clear out. I think I was grinning the whole 4.5 miles and kept a great pace. Then when I got home, I asked my younger sister—who was in town for my book launch party the next day—to take my picture. Of course I had to do a jump shot!

The other memorable moment was earlier this month. I went on a press trip to Jamaica for the 16th Annual Reggae Marathon. I opted to run the 10K portion of the race because I’m not insane. I could have never packed in training for a full or even half marathon in the 10 days I had between when I got the assignment and race day. The whole trip was fantastic. Getting to see Jamaica in all its beauty for the first time was wonderful. Meeting and getting to hang out with the other journalists on the trip, also fun. But the race itself? That stands out in my mind as tough. The heat and humidity at 3:45 AM (when our driver picked us up) and 5:30 a.m. (when the start gun sounded)…man, that was intense. And running in the dark, before the sun had risen, and sweating like you’re in a sauna were also pretty crazy, but memorable. Definitely one for the books. I was so happy to cross the finish line and stroll over to the beautiful Seven Mile Beach there in Negril. It kind of made it all better. And when I checked my time, it was horrible. I think I’d place the race, heat be damned, in the Good Ones category.

 

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Ashley after her half with her (adorable) daughter, Reese

Ashley, the beginner
When I first began this journey, I thought for sure my best moment would have been running a half marathon, however, I couldn't have been more wrong. My best running moment of 2016 was becoming a runner. Being a runner was something I was not positive I could be classified as, but I could, and I did! I found strength on long runs that I didn't think I had, I found wisdom in failures, I found humor in brutally honest moments, and I found courage in attempting runs each week that were longer than I had ever gone before. Running has become something I cherish and I thank the AMR community of BAMRs for joining me on this year transformation. I cannot wait to see the miles that 2017 has in store for me.

 

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Pam with SBS (left) and Dimity in Spokane

Pam, the grandmother
The two things that have forever changed the way I feel about running are Heart Rate Training and the AMR Retreat. With lupus and fibromyalgia, I really enjoyed the easier pace of heart rate training. Not so sure a lot of the BAMRs felt this way. I am now more likely to go for a run based on time not pace.

And the Retreat was so much fun—finally seeing the faces of the ladies from the Facebook groups and getting to run with them. And meeting Dimity, Sarah, and the AMR staff was amazing. Best part of the retreat was crossing the finish line of the Happy Girls 10K race with BAMR Hillary Hanson and hearing SBS announce our names and having an average heart rate of 140 bpm since I ran it as a training run.

 

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Sarah & co. making this year's Turkey Trot a family affair

Sarah, the triathlete

This past year brought a modicum of personal success as a runner and triathlete. But my favorite moment as a mother runner in 2016—and perhaps, ever—wasn't a result of my own triumph. Rather, it was sharing a memorable experience with my son, Eamon.

 As a kid, I didn't really like to run. Sure, I sprinted around our cul-de-sac and successfully attempted to beat everyone in my seventh grade gym class during our timed mile. But I never entertained the thought of racing until I was well into high school. My endurance and fitness came along as a byproduct of other sports—swimming, softball, basketball—and I assumed that's how it would go for my three kids, too. While I applauded my friend's children who ran in local 5Ks, I didn't broach the topic with my own brood. They never seemed interested in all of my running ventures, so I didn't push them to join me.
That is, until a few weeks ago, on the eve of Thanksgiving. I casually mentioned running a Turkey Trot to my 8-year-old, Eamon, who perked up and told me he wanted to run it, too. I reminded him it was 3.1 miles—nearly three times the distance than he'd ever run. He coolly shrugged and said, "I know." The next morning, he was up before I was, dressed in his favorite black warm-up pants, his sneakers already on. As we walked to the start of the race, I gently reminded him of a few racing basics: Don't go out too fast, pace yourself, save some energy for the end. He listened, and nodded, and admitted he was nervous. I was too: A fall cold had kicked his asthma into high gear, and I couldn't help but worry about his little lungs. But he was determined. And who I was I to stop him? Since I was targeting a specific race pace, my husband, Mark, agreed to run with Eamon and stop if it seemed he was struggling. The gun went off. I went to the front, Mark and Eamon trailing behind me. "Go Mommy!" Eamon shouted as the distance grew between us. "See you at the finish line!" I yelled back. But would I?
Some 27 minutes later, after I'd competed my race and retraced my steps along to course to find Eamon and Mark, I saw them making their way toward me. Eamon's stride short and choppy, his cheeks—once so chubby, now growing more and more narrow by the day—flushed in the cool morning air. He gave me a huge grin, a gap revealing two missing front teeth. "Did you run the whole thing?" I shouted, almost in disbelief. "I did!" He puffed back, a steely focus in his wide brown eyes. I jumped back onto the course, running right behind him as we charged toward the finish line. As I cheered him on, I realized the enormity of what was happening. Yes, it was just a local, low key race. And he wasn't like he was winning the race or setting some sort of phenomenal pace. But I knew right then and there that this was a memory that would be indelibly sealed in Eamon's brain for a lifetime. After all, you never, ever forget your first 5K. And I'll never forget the swell of pride I felt watching him run it. Seeing him sprint to the finish line. The look on his face when he realized he really did it. It was a huge milestone in his little 8-year-old life—and an even bigger moment for me as a mother runner.

 

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Tania's year of hard work in photo form

Tania, the sputterer
2016 was a year of triumphs and disappointments for running. I finished my first marathon (woohoo!), but I ran injured, so it wasn't my best race. However, I had the support of my family and friends which was awesome! I ran fun races with my BRFs. I had to take a break for a bit to heal my injury and then we moved, so training got off track. Then I was able to PR later in the year and get some of my mojo back. I also helped a friend PR a race and showed her she's tougher than she thinks. We're all tougher than we think. Here's to 2017 as I start the year with the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Wishing all you Mother Runners the best year ever!

 

Did you follow our Role Mothers throughout the year? Tell us your favorite post or message they shared this year.

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