Follow This Mother!

Ann Brennan, her teenaged son and daughter, and her bonus-baby boy
Since our mind is basically Swiss cheese these days, Dimity and I can't remember how we met Ann Brennan, 41, of Millersville, Maryland (Facebook? our old blog? in prison?!? ha, ha: kidding!). But this writer/marathoner was one of about 150 moms who gave us the invaluable feedback we incorporated into Run Like a Mother. I can't wait to meet her in person next week when I'm in Maryland promoting the book!


Most memorable recent workout: I often say I started running marathons as a way to make my husband see me as more than the sweats-wearing, spit-up-covered mom of two kids under two. Over the years, I have continued to run because I love being a good example of healthy living for my kids. It is nice to know they admire what I do. Just last week, I was given the ultimate compliment by my 16-year-old son: I had biked 2 ½  hours through ankle-deep puddles in the pouring rain and pounding wind and was soaked. When my son saw me dumping out my shoes and wringing out my socks, he said, “Mom, you are seriously badass.” As this description is usually reserved for people like Jack Bauer and Delta Force soldiers, I was thrilled.

Sanity-saver while injured: Instead of running, I add harder biking, swimming, or aqua-jogging workouts to my routine and really try to believe I am not losing fitness. That makes me sound like a well-rounded person, right? Not quite. The truth is I get a dose of encouragement from my marathoning husband every couple of days when I start to melt down. Right now I am trying to qualify for Boston and am missing four weeks of run workouts because of injury so these meltdowns are happening more often than either of us like.

When I visualize my marathon, I see: I never worked on visualization until just before the Marine Corps Marathon two years ago. I visualized the part of the race where everybody falls apart--a stretch of highway from mile 20 to 22 that’s hot and lonely, and runners are sitting on the side of the road in tears. I saw myself not stopping, not for a walk break or a stretch, not for anything. I saw myself completely focused, and it worked. I didn’t stop or slow down. It was my fifth time doing the MCM, but the first time that stretch of road didn’t demoralized me. I ended up with a 19-minute PR.

Pen, pencil, or computer? The truth is everything I write is fully written before I ever sit down. I write while I run or ride (never while I swim because I have to count!). A sentence or an idea will pop into my head and roll around for a while, then everything else follows. As soon as I get home or back to my car, I grab whatever I can find and spill the entire contents of my brain onto paper. I literally killed one of the main characters in my book while lifting weights. I looked pretty silly crying and lifting at the same time but by the time I arrived home the whole chapter was written.

My bonus-baby keeps me: Busy and young. I am so busy chasing after him that I don’t have time to clean my house or worry about bills not paid. Instead, I spend a lot of my day outside jumping in puddles, turning over rocks to see the bugs underneath, and generally being a young mom all over again.

Alarm clock: necessary evil or unnecessary? Necessary evil. In Maryland, the school system is insane. My 16-year-old has to be at the bus stop at 6:30. Considering I am still playing musical beds with our four year old, I would never make it up without an alarm clock.

Post-workout yum-yum: I love peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches. They are healthy but still good for me. I used to love them as a kid but rediscovered them one afternoon after a long run and have been hooked ever since.

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Ann setting a 5-minute personal best in an 8K race

4 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. So dang cute, Ann. Sounds like your bonus-baby is keeping EVERYONE in the family younger. Nice to have your daughter still be so in touch with “childish” activities (and I mean that word in a very positive way!).

    1. Janice, you are going to be so amazed at how he/she changes your life. My 14 year old and the little one are in the front yard now, running through the sprinkler.

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