Follow This Mother!

Elena, on the left, with Erica, MCM Mama, after 13.1.

Elena Sonnio, a.k.a. C. Mom, is a 36-year-old ("for 3 more weeks!") in Fairfax, Virginia who describes herself as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an ex-wife, a teacher, a runner, a cancer survivor. How can you not love--and learn something from--a woman as multifaceted as that?

Best recent run: A 4.86-mile loop around Burke Lake, after dropping my daughter off at camp a few weeks ago. It was the first time in what seemed like forever that I had run it.  It was also the first time I had attempted an outside run after getting a cortisone shot in my IT band/hip, so it felt liberating to be back out on the trail.

Living strong: I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease a little over 13 years ago, and had an autologus bone marrow transplant. When I was sick, I never wanted to be thought of as the patient. Now, all these years later, I realize my being sick is so much a part of who I am, and why I do the things I do.  I think it gave me a very unique perspective on life, and on living each day.

Kids: always so helpful.

High five, friend: Running was the one thing my doctors had said would be difficult for me due to lung damage from chemo. So when a runner friend who I was visiting in Boston during the 2001 Boston Marathon weekend, said, “Why not run the Marine Corps Marathon?” I giggled. But she planted a seed I could not get rid of. Within two weeks of returning home, I found a training group and signed up for my first Marine Corps Marathon. Which was pretty funny, considering I could barely run three miles.

Not on the chain gang: I am doing the Irongirl triathlon in Columbia, Maryland, in a few weeks, and I am freaked out about something happening to my bike on the course. I have participated in maintenance clinics so technically I “know” how to change a tire or do the basics…but I would be much happier if I didn’t have to.

Elena + her Principessa + Rocket, "my sweet and patient husband."

Reclaiming me: I started a column on my blog in January because I needed to get out of a cycle of self sabotage and unhappiness with where I was physically and emotionally. I ran the Wilson Bridge Half in October, but by January, had found myself struggling again with my running. I was also battling depression at a time in my life when I should have been my happiest; I was getting remarried.  I knew it was time to reclaim the “me” that I knew I could be.

I started with me: writing about my training progress, my ups and downs, my reflections on myself. I realized there were so many other people out there that are going through their own personal journey. So in April I had a full week of guest posts while I was away on vacation, and then I made the guest posts part of the weekly series. (I'm going to have a few running-related ones this summer, and I would love to share more stories of women reclaiming themselves.)

Speed round:
Ideal running date
: my husband, on a trail, each with our own headphones on.
Fave post-run snack
: immediately, coconut water or Muscle Milk Light.  At home, scrambled eggs with Morning Star bacon strips.
Garmin or no?
Garmin. I am slow, but I like to track my slowness.
Fave flavor of nuun:
Skirt or shorts? Skirt, especially when I am a few pounds thinner.
Morning or noon or evening runner?
Morning all the way.
If I weren’t running, I’d be
: an emotional mess. I need it to keep me feeling strong and balanced. When I couldn't run for almost two months because of my IT band, I averted disaster only because I started swimming more.
One thing on my running bucket list
: run one more marathon in under 4:30.  It is a very far off bucket list dream.

Follow this mother at:




6 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Love your comment “Garmin. I am slow, but I like to track my slowness.” So me! I’d also like to run another marathon, this time to improve my time. First time was just to finish. Good luck on your tri!

  2. Elena,
    I’m doing the Irongirl in Columbia too! I live in Columbia so not far from you in Northern VA. I too get worried while out on the course but having done this race before I can tell you, you won’t be alone if something happens. First of all, you sound already prepared. Second, there are MANY women that would stop to help and maybe most of all, I always see the “official” bike support guys riding the course on race day. So you might lose some time while waiting for them and/or changing tire, but you will NOT be out of the race, or alone 🙂

    Good luck and see you on race day! Oh and are you doing the dress rehearsal on July 30th? I would highly recommend it if you were considering it.

    Happy Tri-Training!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*Exclusions Apply

Want some mother runner insipiration with special content and deals? 

You will receive an email within the next 24 hours with your discount code!