Chicago BAMR Trisha Palma, 40, has a chock-full race schedule, including this weekend’s Chicago Spring Half Marathon and the Chicago Marathon in October, but staying in motion clearly is what this mom of one is most comfortable doing. “I am currently in graduate school, raising an 11-year-old on my own, working full-time, and balancing the rest of my life—I need an outlet! And running is it.”
Game-changer: I think running has transformed my life. I have been running on and off for about 15 years. I had a rough time during my pregnancy—basically I was alone and it was very difficult for me to accept it. I had abandoned running to drown in my depression. After my son was born, I had moved back to Chicago still miserable and with an additional 60 pounds. I had decided to make a slow come back into running starting with walking. I soon joined CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) and started running with them, first with the beginner running group and years later with the marathon group. During that time my life slowly started to change. Along the way I connected with other runner moms with whom I can share the difficulty of balancing, work, family, and running. I also was able to shed the 60 pounds and feel fitter than I was I in my 20s! This is the happiest I have been in years. As corny as this may sound, running really changed life and it is my “therapy.”
Staying Motivated: My son inspires me every day. He sees what it take to work hard when I’m training (marathon/half marathons), the health benefits it brings me, and most importantly he sees me having fun and being happy when I’m running especially since I have such close relationships with my other running moms. I have formed some really tight bonds with the other runner moms.
Running mantras I love: “Beer at the end.” “One foot in front of the other.” “only XX hours of suffering, that’s a blip on the big radar of life.
Must-have post-race treat: I’m not going to lie, I love an ice cold beer after a race.
Capris or running skirt: Hands down, running skirt!
Can’t-live-without-running gear or piece of clothing: Eh, Body Glide.
Secret indulgence: I always treat myself to a new purse if I hit my race goal.
Memorable runs: When I ran the Chicago Marathon after my son was born, I saw him right around mile 18. The elation on his 1-year-old face when seeing me—I won’t forget it! Of course he was screaming his little head off as I left him. Another favorite race moment was getting a sub 2-hour time at 37. In my early 20s running was so much easier for me—I had more time, not as many responsibilities, and I wasn’t a mother. At 37 it was much different, much more meaningful. I felt I had age against me and I had way more responsibilities. I had worked my tushy off for 3 months for that time. And on race day it was a day that I really had to dig and fight, but it was one of the most satisfying moments in my running life. Of course I did cry when I crossed the finish line.
What I’m running away from: Usually it’s stress. I work in social service, am a single mom, and grad student. I carry a lot of stress, but use running as a way to sort out my thoughts and put things in perspective. It’s also a great opportunity to draft emails in my head.
What I thought about during today’s run: Today’s run was a wonderful one. Last night I submitted my final paper of the semester and marked my first complete year of graduate school. So this morning, I reflected on what I learned this year and what it will bring me in my career.
Best Mile Ever: The last mile. It’s the mile that I can take off and it’s also the mile that I know it’s almost over. Of course it’s also the worst mile too, because it’s the most painful.
My running in three words: Make me fly.