When we tell the title of our book--Run Like a Mother--to folks, they either chuckle or ask, "what does it mean to 'run like a mother'?" It's a question with infinite answers. We think Megan Brooks, a 27-year-old mom of a 10-year-old stepson, of Keller, Texas, is proof-positive it doesn't just mean running like you've birthed a baby.
Best recent run: Recently I ran a 4.45-miler in 35 minutes, which is just an unheard-of pace for me. It was one of those runs I dove into without planning for pace or distance and instead let my feelings be the guide. I sometimes find I perform the best when I let go a little and set expectations aside. I felt on top of the world after that run.
Not half bad: I ran my first half-marathon last Sunday, the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon in Irving, TX, with two 5K and two 10K races under my belt. I was pretty nervous. I tend to let double-digit miles get into my head and intimidate me because they just sound long. How silly is that? I let the sound of the number 13.1 scare me. I think it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that I’m capable of running nearly from my house to downtown Fort Worth. I’m always dealing with my own self doubt. On top of that, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly last Friday and I had to leave town to attend his funeral during the week leading up to the race. This sort of threw me a bit. I decided to dedicate my run to him and even had my own race T-shirt made: “13.1 miles in loving memory of ‘Father Grandpa’” (he was ordained a Catholic priest at the sprightly age of 77). I finished in 2:06:06, ranked number 10 out of 39 women in my age group and 143 out of 518 overall. I’m pretty proud: I set a simple goal of just finishing, telling myself I’d be happy if I could just do the thing in under 2:30. I was pleasantly surprised with my performance. I see more half marathons in my future!
A real runner: When I was growing up, my mother used to wake up at 5 a.m. every other day and go for a run. It was like clockwork, in rain or shine or snow (we lived in Indiana until I was in high school). She didn’t measure pace or distance; she didn’t compete in local races; and she didn’t even leave the house with any idea of how long she’d be gone. I could tell it was a real passion and joy for her. She seemed to weave it into her daily life effortlessly, like it was as easy as breathing. She shaped my initial idea of a real runner, I think. I started my running blog a year ago because I wanted to weave running effortlessly into my life, too. I never felt like a real runner before, I always felt like an impostor somehow, and I was determined to change that. I’ve become frustrated with this because while the passion for the sport is there, I find it’s not as easy for me to make it gel with my everyday life: I’m not a morning person; I’m very dedicated to my career; and sometimes I’m tired and I just don’t feel like it! Over the past year, I’ve felt burnt out, I’ve gotten injured, and I’ve taken short breaks to tend to more important things going on. But I still keep at it. I still make the time, even when I don’t feel like it and even as I stumble through all the obstacles that life throws at me. And now, after one year of stumbling but still staying my course, I’ve decided that dedication is what makes me a real runner.
My minimalist shoes: I’ve been running in the Vibram Five Finger shoes for almost four months now and I’m in love with them. People tend to be fascinated (or sometimes appalled) by this trend, but the first time I heard about these shoes the idea made complete sense to me. Like many other well-meaning modern conveniences in our lives, I really believe athletic shoes with a lot of bells and whistles only hold us back. To me, there’s something very primal and wonderful about running in them. I feel like I’m engaging my feet, legs, muscles, tendons, joints, and entire being in a way that’s not possible in regular shoes. During the past few months, I’ve run faster, stronger, longer, and with less-sore muscles than I ever have before. I don’t know for sure whether the shoes have contributed to that or whether it’s just a result of my half-marathon training. But at the very least, they enhance my running experience by making me feel like a carefree kid zooming around barefoot in the backyard again. And that’s reason enough for me to keep wearing them.
Hoping to grow the fam: I really hope to give my mid-thirties husband another child (in addition to my 10-year-old stepson) in the next couple of years. That’s a pretty open time frame, on purpose. I was pregnant at the beginning of this year. I’ll never forget seeing the first sonogram at eight weeks, staring in awe at the peanut growing inside of me, too distracted by wonderment to notice the sonographer’s too-long silence that was finally broken by, “I don’t think this is a viable pregnancy.” Miscarrying was a huge shock for me. I knew it could happen in early pregnancy, but I had no iota of knowledge just how often it does happen or that it really could happen to me. I’m young; I’m healthy; I come from a family of Fertile Myrtles; and we conceived on the very first try. I thought I was a walking picture of reproductive health. People tend to take for granted you’ll just pick up where you left off on your baby-making mission after that happens, but I needed to step back for a while. I’m the kind of person who needs a lot of time to digest things. I’m pretty open about what happened when the so-any-baby-plans-yet? inquisitions come our way, as they inevitably do after two years of marriage, and what I’ve learned anecdotally talking with other women is that it’s tragically way too common. Even two or three miscarriages before a healthy pregnancy seem common. That terrifies me. But I guess when the time comes I’ll just have to jump in, be brave, and expect anything.
Post-run indulgence: authentic Mexican food.
Follow this [step]mother at: http://blogofarunner.wordpress.com/