ANOTHER
MOTHER RUNNER

#AMRinSaucony: Lordy, Lordy

Someone recently said to me, “I don’t know how you manage to do all that running and marathon training with three kids," to which I replied, “Yes. It’s heavy carrying three kids when you’re doing hill repeats.”

No, of course I didn’t say that. I lock them all in the hall closet when I go running.

ALSO NOT TRUE.

The truth is, we mother runners have no choice. If we don’t get out and get in a run and some time to ourselves to regroup and recharge, we’d fail at everything else we’d set out to do, including parenting.

So for me, getting up, putting on shoes and running? That is the easy part. It’s everything else in my life that is way more challenging on most days.

Example: one morning this week my daughter came into our room at 3AM; she had a nightmare. Took me a bit to fall back asleep. Then the baby woke up. She’s teething. (She just broke her first top tooth and now likes to play with her new toy by grinding it against her bottom two teeth. It is as charming as it sounds.)

Obligatory Clara pic, somewhere in the middle of a slightly challenging drive through Duluth.
Obligatory Clara pic, somewhere in the middle of a slightly challenging drive through Duluth.

When my alarm went off at 5:00 I pushed it off until 5:30, realizing that if running was going to happen, it needed to happen very soon so that I could make an 8am work meeting. I then argued back and forth with myself, arguing why I should just get up and get ready for work and skip the run.

I must confess: I haven’t been in a great place lately. When it comes to mom stuff, I feel like a failure most days. It’s a perfect storm of having three kids six and under (the eldest is starting to test her boundaries), a busy work life, and oh yeah - marathon training. Free time is at a premium, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel like I’ve had a major fail in at least one thing, and it’s usually the mothering thing.

They look oh so sweet, right? Totally starting to push boundaries and landing in the zone where Mom completely loses her sh*t.
They look oh so sweet, right? Totally starting to push boundaries and landing in the zone where Mom completely loses her sh*t.

But this particular morning as I stared at the weather forecast on my phone and debated digging my Sauconys out of the closet, I realized that despite my shortcomings–and I have oh, so many–the one thing I can claim competence at is waking up early and getting my run done before work. (Note: I didn’t say I was good at running, because I don’t want to give a false impression that I am a gifted runner. But showing up? Ticking workouts off a calendar? I can do that.

The early wakeup sucks sometimes, but when you're rewarded with views like these, it makes it a little easier to roll out of bed.
The early wakeup sucks sometimes, but when you're rewarded with views like these, it makes it a little easier to roll out of bed.

Maybe that's is my superpower: showing up.

When I started this AMRinSaucony journey back at the beginning of the year to find my strong, I pictured this huge epiphany taking place. Like, one day I’d get back from a run and I’d just know it: I’d found my “strong,” whatever that was. It would be an event! There would be fanfare! There would be confetti and celebration! There would be cake! (OK, I really hoped there would be cake.)

You know, kind of like I pictured celebrating my 40th birthday.

But my birthday (and ah-ha! moment) was nothing like that. It was terribly ordinary. Other than taking a day off from work and running some trails in daylight (without a headlamp!), there wasn’t much special about it. I even spent a few hours washing floors. As one does at this age, I guess?

My birthday trail run scenery an extremely delicious cappuccino, and my Saucony Peregrines,which were perfect for my leisurely scamper in the woods. (Mop and bucket and dirty floors not pictured.)

The older I get (and hopefully wiser), I've realized that finding your strong is more applicable to the ordinary trials of everyday life. It has become more about logging those early weekday morning miles than podiums or PRs. Because sometimes that first thing in the morning endorphin fill-up is the only thing that gets me through my day. Because even though I’m really good at showing up, when it comes to being a mom to my kids, I know it’s more about guiding them through life - i.e., being a parent - not merely sitting on the sidelines as spectators and watching them grow up. Spectating is easy. Parenting? Not so much.

As for turning 40, I did eventually have a proper party with my family this weekend. My husband Scott cooked a delicious dinner–beef stroganoff-which is also what we had for dinner on my 30th birthday, early on in our dating relationship. (Hey, I like what I like!) There were party hats from the dollar store. There was this really delicious triple berry pie that was waiting for me when I came back from a bike ride. (I would go on a bike ride more often if it involved pie rewards.)

Let's just call it carb loading; I have a marathon in seven days!
I'm calling it carb loading; I have a marathon in seven days!

Let me propose a birthday toast to all of us mother runners who get it done everyday, without confetti and balloons and touchdown celebrations in the end zone. We may never see a podium in our lifetime, but we find our strong every day.

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And here’s to trying on new age groups for races; Twin Cities Marathon, I'm coming for you on Sunday.

21 responses to “#AMRinSaucony: Lordy, Lordy

  1. Amy, good luck at TCM! We will be cheering at mile 22.3 so look for the Mom’s on the Run group to encourage you up Summit ave!

  2. Happy 40th! And good luck on Sunday!! So far, from what I can tell, showing up (and driving all over hell’s half acre) for parenting counts sometimes more than the very important lectures that make me feel like I am actually “parenting”. Hang in there!

  3. Best wishes for an amazing race! I hope the #BlackLivesMatter protest does not interfere with your finish. You have worked so hard (showing up!) and deserve to cross that finish line without interruption.

  4. I really enjoyed this post and Happy, Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful race and I think you have found your strong. Humor has a way of shining us up.

  5. Wow! Agree with everything Amy, I just finished carb loading for TCM too, after the spectacular tantrum of my almost six year old. Time for the big dance!

  6. Happy Birthday and good luck in the Twin Cities this weekend. I’ll be there, too, but running the 10-miler. Here’s to showing up!

  7. Loved this post Amy and I meant to tell you, I absolutely loved, loved, loved my 40’s…so much so that while I didn’t mind turning 50, I kind of mourned leaving such a pivotal, transformative, and enlightening decade. Enjoy and kick some butt at Twin Cities!!

  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself about mothering. You are doing a GREAT job. Getting through this time in your life with your sanity (sort of) and your job and your kids intact is a win. Survival is a win. Seriously. Striving to do better is great – we all strive to do better. But know that nobody is great all the time – nobody is patient all the time, nobody kicks butt at their job all the time and nobody is the perfect parent.

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