Photo Gallery: What a Mother Runner Looks Like, Part II

What does a mother runner look like? Strong. And smiley.

Up today: round two of What Another Mother Runner Looks Like. 75 or so mother runners who come in a range of shapes and sizes, but personify what mother runners stand for: confidence, strength, ambition, inspiration, vibrancy.

I hope the combined 132 pictures drove home the point that there is no such thing as a stereotypical runner. Sure, there are wisps who whip across the line seemingly effortlessly—and there are a few of them in this collection (and yes, we love you and your little bods!)—but the majority of the pack are runners who might have bulky quads; who might have a little extra bulge on their midsection; who might be far from the "ideal" runner physique.

But here's the thing about the majority of us: we’re dominating the race fields. Some days, we’re running long. Some days, we're running fast. Some days, we’re just running. We’re setting PR’s and killing the hills. We're surprised by how running has become ingrained in our DNA, the reward of dedication and consistency. We're inspiring others to try it.

In short, we are redefining what a runner looks like.

I wanted to share a few thoughts from Rebecca, who describes herself as overweight/obese since puberty (“and three pregnancies haven’t helped,” she adds). When she submitted her picture, she wrote,

Rebecca went outside her comfort zone to participate. That's some serious strength.

 “I like your idea for a photo essay: real women, with real bodies. It's outside my comfort zone, but I've decided to include my photo because I think there are plenty of other women out there whose bodies look more like mine than any of the 14 shown so far. And I think it would mean a lot to those other women to see someone more like themselves. Women who equally value the another mother runner community that the two of you promote.”

Rebecca: we so appreciate you—and the rest of you—who have put yourself out there. There is a reason why this community is so valuable: it’s as strong and supportive as the collective legs we run on.

 Again, I ask you to please share this gallery: Facebook it, tweet it, send it to your pals. Thank you, thank you. And here's the link to Part I in case you missed it. (And full disclosure: I am not in this. I meant to be, but it's 9:15 p.m. and I have to run at 5:20 a.m. and I have no interest into changing into a sports bra and spandex right now. Raincheck. Promise.)

Sarah, 30, mother of 1

"Best running moment? I wanted to run a 3:40 at the 2012 Quad-Cities Marathon and I ended up running a 3:27!"

Isela, 35, mother of 2

"Proudest running moment: Completing my very first marathon, a year after I started running."

Jennifer, 29, mother of 1

"Best running moment: My first race, when my average pace was under 10 min/mile."

Katie, 33, mother of 1

"My proudest running moment would have to be at a recent race where I was able to snag an age group placing and my daughter won her kids’ race, after falling and scraping her knee. She is normally pretty dramatic, but picked herself up, got right back to running and still finished before the rest of the kids. The victory wasn’t what thrilled me; it was watching her come through, at age 3, with a bloody scrape and a smile to complete her quarter-mile run."

Carla, 36, mother of 3

"I love my calves. They are strong and well defined and I always get compliments on them."

Adrienne, 29, mother of 2

"After birthing two giant boys, and shedding 157 pounds in the last year, I'm still in awe of my body's power, strength and general awesomeness. Do I wish I looked like a supermodel? Nope. Every stretch mark is a milestone, I think of my body more as a shrine to all it's done, and has left to do."

Michelle, 44, mother of 3

"I have a major issue with my body right now with so much saggy skin--I've lost over 100 pounds--and am saving up enough money to get some of it dealt with. So my favorite body part is my shoulders and upper back. I can rock a tank top, as long as you don't notice the batwing arms hanging from my guns."

Heidi, 34, mother of 4

"Although I have run 6 marathons, my proudest running moment was my first 5K race last fall where I raced so smart and had negative splits and a great finish time. (This picture was taken when #2 was two days away from being born, and I was 28.)"

Libby, 34, mother of 2

F"avorite body part: My belly, stretch marks and all. It grew my babies; how could I not love it?"

Gina, 45, mother of 3

"My favorite body part? My mouth because I love the way I feel when I smile."

Terri, 41, mother of 3; Dora, 37, mother of 2

Terri (left): "I was most proud crossing the starting line of my first marathon; I trained for months by myself and I felt strong and confident that I would finish!" Dora (right): "I was most proud finishing the North Face Endurance challenge 50K!"

Heather, 38, mother of 2

"Proudest running moment: crossing the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon (my first), closely tied with pacing my 5 and 7 year old in their first 5K." (Pic is the nearly naked mile; Heather is running with her five-year-old.)

Denise, 34, mother of 2

"Favorite body part: my kick-ass calves. Can I say kick-ass?"

Julie, 34, mother of 3

"My best running moments: a toss-up between 3rd place in age group in a local small run about 3 years ago and finishing first half-marathon with hubs 11 months after the youngest was born, in way better time than I expected."

Sarah (and her dog, Lilly), 35, mother of 2

"My proudest running moment was finishing my first half-marathon in May. For me it was about setting a goal, making a plan (and sort of sticking to it) and completing it for my kids."

Jodie, 38, mother of 3

"Proudest running moment: Uhm, the moment I decided I could—and would—do it!"

Tricia (on the left, with BRF Dani), 47, 5 kids, including twins

"I really do love my quads, and have no problem saying 'make no mistake, sista, these legs were made for running!'"

Dani (on right, with BRF Tricia), 37, mother of 3

"I never thought I could be a runner, and I never thought I would get past 9 miles, so hitting 10 was a big deal for me! But I also love climbing hills with my sole sister, Tricia. We've climbed some major hills and I love the feeling of pride at the top of a kick-ass hill!"

Rachel, 31, mother of 2

Best running moment so far is finishing my 1st 5K this summer and both my girls, my hubby and my mom at the finish line. My girls were jumping up and down screaming 'Go Mommy, Go Mommy!'"

Pam, 29, mother of 2; Christy, 34, mother of 4; and their 4 running brothers

Pam (in red bandana): Proudest running moment: getting a PR--1:47:10--in a half-marathon a month and a half after finishing my last round of chemo. It felt so wonderful to know I could still depend on my body and that I could still do something I love!" Christy: Proudest running moment: setting the District 400 meter track record in high school--and then having it stand for 16 years."

Vaish, 29, mother of 1 four-legged

"My best running moment was standing at the start line of my first 5K. I was so proud to start running again after giving up 10 years ago. That first comeback race was precious!"

Stephanie, 42, mother of 4

"I love this project because I want to show that you can be thin, and in shape, run a marathon, and still never be happy with your body. I never show my stomach; no amount of sit-ups can cure that saggy skin! But would I trade a flat, smooth stomach for four beautiful sons? The thought makes me almost believe a stretched-out stomach is my most favorite body part. Almost."

Krista, 29, mother of 2

"Most proud running moment: going into my first marathon undertrained and pulling it off in 4:14 -- and loving it!"

Kristen, 40, mother of 3

"I loved seeing my 3 kids (and hubby) holding signs for me during my last marathon. Made me feel so supported to have them out there cheering me on."

Melissa, 38, mother of 2; Shauna, 44, mother of 1

"Yes, this was right after a good hour workout! Sweat faced and stinky because that's how we roll. Proud! Human! Strong! Badass!" --Shauna (right)

Nicole, 42, mother of 3

"My proudest running moment was completing my first half-marathon with my BRF in 2006. By the way, love this whole thing! Love our bodies!"

Carrie, 33, mother of 2

"Love my legs for powering me through all those gloriously, sweaty miles!"

Megan, 30, mother of 4

"My favorite body part for running is my barely A breasts! I can wear any sports bra and not worry about them!"

April, 45, mother of 3

"I was most proud when, after running for a year, I completed my first 1/2 marathon 3 months ago!"

Ann, 51, mother of 3

"I'm most proud of finishing Goofy Challenge at Disneyland twice."

Desiree, 31, mother of 3

"My proudest running moment was running helping my 5 year-old run his first 1-mile race and seeing how hard he competed while still encouraging his competition. Watching him was like watching myself!"

Laura, 31, mother of 2

"My proudest running moment was finishing the full marathon. I did it by myself and broke out of my comfort zone, running it without my running buddy."

Karin, 52, mother of 2

"My favorite body part is my hourglass figure; it's a small hourglass, but at least I have curves! Also, you can't see this in the photo but I have varicose veins down the back of my entire left leg. Running finally gave me the courage to go out in public in shorts and not give a damn about those veins anymore."

Akoma, 34, mother of 1

"My proudest running moment was running the last 6 miles of the ZOOMA half-marathon totally barefoot. I still PR'ed."

Rachel, 33, mother of 2

"My arms are my favorite. They have some definition, which I fully attribute to carrying 2 kids around."

Samantha, 37, mother of 2

"I'm most proud of, after about 6 months of running, being brave enough to venture off the gym treadmill and onto the roads of my neighborhood, and now anywhere in the city I want to go. I find such freedom in planning a new route, or exploring a different area of my town while on foot."

Angela, 35, soon-to-be mother of 1

"Favorite body part? Currently, mah belleh!"

Jen, 38, mother of 2

"My proudest running moment seems to constantly change, but my most recent one is completing half-marathon #10."

Sharon, 41, mother of 4, including twins

"So proud that I ran over 5 miles in the Akron Marathon relay less than 4 months after I started running."

Tonia, 30, mother of 3

"I love my quads.They are total powerhouses."

Michelle, 41, mother of 3

"Proudest running moment? Every PR, every age-group win, every great training run, every intense track interval. I feel proud each time I prove to myself that I'm putting in the effort, and I'm seeing the results, whether it's on a race clock, or on the watch on my wrist."

Jennifer, 41, mother of 13 (7 adopted, 6 biological)

"I'm 5'9" and love wearing heels when I"m not running. My height took time to 'grow into' and now I never feel tall!"

Holli, 41, mother of 3

"My favorite body parts are my ankles; they take a lot abuse and look the best!"

Ang, 42, mother of 1

"I'm most proud of getting back to running after surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer.And my favorite body part is my chest; I’m so flat you might not notice I’m going solo. Scarred as it is, it reminds me daily of my vulnerabilities, my flaws, and, most importantly, my strengths. It inspired me to get myself back in shape and pursue my dreams."

Andrea, 41, mother of 2

"I was so proud when I did my first training run of 14 miles for a half-marathon. It was the longest I had ever gone and couldn't believe I made it. I definitely bragged about that for a little while."

Natalie, 30, mother of 2

"My proudest running moment was the day I ran 16 miles. My farthest run yet."

Natalie, 37, mother of 2

"My proudest moment is a toss up between crossing the finish line of my first marathon and how excited my kindergartner at the time was that I did it. She told EVERYONE."

Tayarra, 32, mother of 3

"Proudest running moment: My 1st 5k race as a mom. I never thought I’d run competitively again. I went out there completely unprepared with only one goal: not walking. I ran the entire thing and even pushed it. It was my leap into crushing the thought that I’d never run like I used to."

Melissa, 39, mother of 2

"Proudest running moment: breaking a sub-8-minute mile. I've only done it once, but I know it means I've got more in me!"

Valerie, 47, mother of 2

"I was proud of running 6+ miles at a 9.xx pace, on both weekend mornings, and feeling perfectly energized afterwards on both days."

Rose, 29ish, 2 (adult) kids

"I was super proud of finishing the Boston Marathon 2012 without pantsing my poop, passing out, puking, or needing any medical assistance. My marathon PR in 1998 was pretty cool too, but I was too young and stupid to appreciate it at the time."

Rebecca, 34, mother of 3

"My proudest running moment is any time someone asks *me* about running and how to get started. And my favorite body part is my legs; they've always had a lot of muscle and I'm finally putting it to good use."

Elizabeth, 52, mother of 2

"Proudest moment: Winning the "Women's 50 and over" award in a local 5K race two years ago, after not having entered a running race for over 15 years. This showed me there is still some mojo left in this middle-aged body!"

Shannon, 41, mother of 4

My proudest moment is running my first 5k after surviving cancer, surgery and treatment."

Christine, 45, mother of 2

"My proudest running moment was when I recently finished my third leg of the Ragnar Relay in Napa. It started at 3:30am, and I'm not a fan of running in the dark. I killed the 8.7 'very hard' leg and wanted to run some more!"

Lindsey, 36, mother of 1

"Favorite body part right now is my arms. I always wanted to have strong athletic looking arms."

Ellen, 37, mother of 1.75 kids

A three-way tie for my proudest running moment: running miles 12-18 of a marathon with my dad; seeing my family for hugs and kisses before I crossed the finish line; and my then 2-year-old putting on my sneakers, tucking her 'baby' in a stroller and telling me she was going for a run."

Farida, 40, mother of 1

"I was 65 lbs overweight when my daughter was born, and it took me eight years to lose the baby weight; now my favorite body part is my collar-bone. No turtlenecks for me!"

Jennifer, 34, mother of 1

"During my first 10k last April, I was coming out of a wooded trail, up a hill and it was about 5 3/4 miles into the run. I was tired but I ran the whole thing. As we were coming out of the woods, it felt like such a rebirth. My whole scalp was just buzzing with accomplishment and amazement."

Freedom, 40, mother of 5 (one up above, who flies/runs with her everyday)

"After losing my 1st daughter to CDH 12 years ago (www.cherubs-cdh.org )and having the pregnancy take over my body, I never thought would be the same again. I seriously looked like a what by the end. You do what you need to do to bring that baby into the world, and I let her take over my body so we would get a chance to see her. Kylee is one of my main reasons for working so hard at running everyday to help raise money for CDH research and keep my large family going each and every day."

Erin, 33, mother of 2

"I was proud of finishing my 3rd half-marathon this past June with a PR."

Terri, 50, mother of 1 and Miles, the feline who rubs her head during abs workouts

"My hands are my best body part; they are always perfectly relaxed, yet ever ready to wave a greeting or clap at an enthusiastic spot in my running music."

Caolan, 49, mother of 1

My best running moment? Qualifying for my second Boston Marathon by 7 brutal seconds. (Picture is from the race.)"

Kerry, 38, mother of 2

"So proud of having the guts to sign up for a half-marathon and training for it, even when people looked at me like I was nuts to consider it."

Marcy, 35, mother of 2

I am proud of the fact that I have continued to run throughout my life--pre-kids, I was in the top 10% in the Army 10-Miler--even when the going gets tough--and the middle gets bigger, and the times get slower...) P.S.: The fact that I took and then sent a pic means I've come a loooooong way. Taken after a difficult hill repeat workout."

Keely, 32, mother of 3

"Super proud of my bruised second toenail on my left foot. Hurt like crazy for a couple days when it happened after my longest run to date, but now I feel like a member of the club. Badge of honor."

Kristin, 39, mother of 2

"Super proud every time I finish a triathlon, especially because running is the hardest part for me."

Rebecca, 37, mother of 2

"Love my arms: they help drive me up hills and they pick up and hug my girls. Two of my favorite things."

Jane, 66, mother of 3 and grandmother

"Proudest moment was running the Bolder Backroads marathon with two of my daughters. I am always proud when I can run with my girls and my grandkids."

Megan, 40, mother of 1; Jenn 40, mother of 2

Megan (left): "Favorite body part is the girls. They fed my daughter very well and I love them, stretch marks and all." Jenn (right): "Mine is my legs. They are short but they have traveled further than many legs twice their size!"

Iliana, 36, mother of 2

"Proudest running moment was being able to see my running partner go over the 11-mile mark as I coached her through it. We ran through her 'wall'--and past it."

Christina, 28, mother of 2

"Proudest moment: Running in a relay marathon with my dad and brothers at 6-months pregnant; it felt great to be an example to other women that you can stay fit during your pregnancies!"

Dorothy, 30, mother of 3

"Proudest running moment: Qualifying for the Boston Marathon with a 24 minute PR 6 months after my 2nd baby was born!"

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