Follow This Mother!

Maggie, chilling at the aptly-named Inspiration Point, during a trail run.

I knew I loved Maggie Bahnson when I came across a blog entry in which she talked about throwing a tantrum on a trail run with her husband, Fred. The only time I cop an attitude when I sweat is when I'm exercising with Grant. "Part of the reason I did it because he was there, so I had a target for my frustration when I was struggling," she explains. I totally get that. Anyway, this Santa-Barbara-based mother of two girls, ages 3.5 and 6.5 ("going on 15," she says), can do way more than gets simply mad at her husband; check her out.

Best recent run: The Santa to the Sea Half-Marathon I did last month. My plan was to just run by feel and not wear a watch or a Garmin; the thought of a PR for this race crossed my mind, but it wasn't really my goal. I started with the 2-hour pace group but realized within a mile that that was too slow. I caught up to the 1:50 pacer around mile 4 and thought I'd hang with him. It felt like a good pace and I wanted to make sure I didn't crash too soon before the finish.

Then we came to a hill in the form of a bridge. And I love hills! (Seriously, I do!) I ended up leaving the 1:50 pacer in my dust at the bottom of it. I continued at my pace, which was feeling challenging but not impossible. At mile eight, I spotted another pacer and just tried to keep him within 200m from me. I eventually caught up to him at about mile 10 and I stayed right at his shoulder until mile 12. Then I pulled away and crossed the finish at 1:47:11! PR by 8 minutes!

The fam.

The race was nearly perfect; running without a watch really made me listen to my body and adjust my pace according to how I felt, not according to numbers on my watch. I was pretty proud of my performance in this race, not just physically but mentally.

Functionally single: My husband is a surgical resident, and averages 80 hours/week at work and one day off a week. On his day “off”, he spends some time studying or preparing for conferences. I run on the couple of days my kids are both in school/pre-school. For long runs, I’ve managed to find some incredibly wonderful, loving babysitters. I fully believe taking time to run—and having my kids with a sitter—makes me a better mom and a better person. I need that time to clear my mind, to socialize with my runner friends, and focus on me.

Quick Chicks is derived in part by Stickchix, an art collection by Erin Pearson (

Are you tough enough? In April, I'm doing the Tough Enough relay, a 65-mile race along the ridge of the Sierra Madre, with four other awesome women whom I met through Team in Training. Our team name is Quick Chicks. We'll each run 2 legs, which vary from five to nine miles. At the end of the day, we’ll each have run roughly 13 miles total, give or take a mile. It’s a very challenging--but, of course, fun--race. We’ll each run a super intense uphill leg and a leg with a lot of downhill. We have no pressure to finish in a certain time. We’ll just enjoy each other’s company and the scenery for the day.

There is no "I" in team: Team in Training has changed my life! I’ve learned that my running can make a difference in other people’s lives, both by fundraising and by inspiring and helping other participants as they go through their first season of TNT. I was a participant in 2010 and then returned as a Mentor in 2011. As a mentor, I had a group of first-time participants that I supported throughout the season. I offered advice and tips on fundraising and training, and I was their first point of contact when any questions or issues came up for them. This past August, I started working part-time as the Campaign Coordinator; I help with recruiting participants and helping the local teams stay organized and focused.

Maggie + Fred: all smiles on the trail. (Most of the time, anyway.)

And there is no "I" in ask: My best tip for fundraising is don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll be surprised by the responses you get. More people than you realize have had their lives touched by cancer. This post of mine is one amazing example of unexpected generosity.

Be where your feet are: I recently started taking yoga at a Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga studio. My yoga instructor talks a lot about being present, trying new things, accepting myself for who I am. One day she said, “Be where you feet are.” If my feet are on the mat, then I should be present on the mat. If my feet are on a run, be present in that run. I like to think of that phrase when I’m with my kids. So often I’m trying to do a dozen different things when I’m home with the kids. I need to stop myself and remind myself to be present with my kids, to focus on my kids and let the dishes wait.

A birthday week: I’m turning 28 (+6) today. I have a lot of plans for my birthday week: there’s a date night with my husband on one night, dinner and birthday cupcakes with Fred and the girls on my actual birthday, and then on the weekend I have a Happy Hour planned with a number of friends. I’m going all out this year!

Follow Maggie at: A Slice of Wife


7 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Great interview with Maggie! You couldn’t have picked a more inspiring person to feature. Her passions in life are so clear: being a mom and wife, a runner, a cancer butt-kicker, mentor, and a person who is present where her feet are. She also happens to be a great writer (in case you were wondering).

  2. Great post! After reading it, I am actually contemplating running my next half marathon (Feb 19th) without my garmin. GASP! My last half in Nov was my first DNF so this one is more about finishing…and getting ready for my next marathon. I sort of feel that if I bring my watch, I’ll focus too much on my splits and not enough on listening to my body. Thanks for the post and have fun with your relay!

  3. I love “Be where your feet are”…after seeing that pic, my feet would love to be on a trail run right now.. Alas, they are under my desk at work….
    Enjoy your birthday!

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