Follow This Mother!

Boston, here she comes

On Twitter, when I asked for suggestions of a mother-runner-blogger who is running the Boston Marathon to profile, the overwhelming response was Amanda Odum. I’m fortunate enough to know this 33-year-old mom of three as she lives here in Portland. Amanda is spunky and lovable—and super-speedy: She qualified twice last year with times of 3:30 and 3:24. The April 16 race will be her second Boston Marathon, as she ran it pre-kids in 2004 after qualifying in her first-ever ’thon. (Like I said…super-speedy.) Find out what fuels Amanda’s drive and passion. (Kleenex alert.)

Best recent run: Last October, my husband and I went on a simply PERFECT trail run in Forest Park here in Portland. It was the morning after a datenight, our kids were at their grandparents’ house, and I had a new pair of Brooks Cascadia trail shoes to break in (we bought them on our date). We had 10 miles of beautiful Oregon trails with the sun coming in through the trees and a promise of a wonderful day ahead of us. It is always a joy to run with my best friend while enjoying our beautiful state.

Amanda and her equally adorable family

Back to Boston: When I first ran Boston in 2004, it was only my second marathon. I had no serious running goals except to have fun and finish. In fact, before qualifying, I didn’t even know what the Boston Marathon was. I was wide-eyed and open to possibilities as I experienced an entirely new world of running.

Eight years later, I will be racing the Boston Marathon again. This experience holds a great deal of emotion and meaning for me. In August of 2010, I experienced my first major injury, which kept me from running in the Portland Marathon where I had hoped to make a post-kids comeback and qualify for Boston 2011. My injury left me hungrier than ever before to make big things happen with my running, start my blog Runninghood, and get back to Boston. I’ve trained harder for this marathon than I’ve ever trained before, run more mileage than I ever thought I would, and never had more heart for running than I do now. I want this to be more than just a fun experience. This is the race of my life so far.

Savoring the time, not chasing the break: In the midst of running kids around, breaking up fights, wiping pee off the floor, and cooking meals, I find myself frequently “chasing the break” and going through the motions instead of savoring the daily moments with my kids. I’m tired; I want a break. Why can’t they just go play in their rooms? In a world of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, cell phones, and email, it is easy to find myself drawn to the computer way too often so that I can connect with other adults, process stress through writing in lieu of having a staff room to vent to colleagues, etc. I have to make a conscious effort to put social media aside at certain times so that I can be fully present in creating extraordinary memories with my kids just by being part of the ordinary every day with them. At the same time, I want to pursue my professional, personal, and athletic dreams. I believe we can do both. Finding this balance is so very important to me.

Hot, sweaty mama at the tail end of her fourth marathon

33: My dad is the deepest part of why I run, and it is through my running that I have been able to grieve and process the loss of the father that I never had the chance to know. He had passion, determination, and a will to run, even after breaking both his legs and being told he would never walk again. Just as he was starting to run again, he was killed in an accident. I know when I run that I am carrying on his dreams as well as my own. It has been the times in my life when I’ve needed a father the most that I’ve found him during a run. Whether it is finishing a marathon or running through an Iowa field under a full moon, he has been there to tell me he loves me and he is proud. He was 33 when he died, and now, at 33 I am just coming alive as a runner. I know he will be there to carry me through in Boston. This one is for you, Dad.

By the Brooks: I was thrilled to find out that Brooks accepted me for a media sponsorship this year. Because of my blog, my influence in the running community, and my passion for running, I have the honor of representing a fabulous company. This sponsorship is just one more step in making my dreams come true.

Most looking forward to: A huge difference between this Boston Marathon and eight years ago is that I will know so many people. I’m so excited to meet friends that I’ve meet through the blog world and travel with my friend and running partner Nicole from I Dream of Running.Oh, and of course I’m looking forward to being kid-free with my husband for five days in an awesome city!

Follow this mother at: and on Twitter. And on Monday, April 16, follow Amanda online. Her bib # is: 10681.

30 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Amanda, I loved reading about you and have since read a bunch of the posts on your blog. I am a fellow Portlander and mom of 3 and am planning to run the Newport Marathon in June. I just read your race report for Newport and am even more excited for the race now! I’m a friend and neighbor of SBS and hope I “run” into you sometime as we are similar paces and I need more running partners. 😉

    Good luck at Boston! It is going to be HOT so I hope you all just enjoy it and don’t overheat!!


  2. Yay, Amanda!! Love your blog, your real-life approach, and am inspired by your running. I even have a RunningHood bumper sticker on my van. 🙂 Praying beautiful weather and a safe and happy run at Boston!

  3. Love your story Amanda, an inspiration! I’m a single mom of a 6 year old daughter and I’m running my 2nd marathon and 1st Boston – I’m not speedy like you, but raised $5,200 to run the race supporting obesity prevention research at Tufts University. You’ll likely see the Tufts Marathon Team on the course with our vibrant yellow singlets (though likely, we’ll be behind you!) Good luck on Monday!

  4. Amanda , I am from México and I have been reading you for over a year and follow you on facebook. You are an inspiration!

  5. I love Amanda and she is one of those running mentors I am dying to meet. I read her blog each day!! She is an incredible women!!

  6. So, so happy to see Amanda featured! I love Runninghood and I’ve been following her for almost a year now. She is one of my FAVORITE bloggers and I look forward to reading her funny, inspirational and motivating posts.

    I am so excited to hear about her journey in Boston! Go Amanda!!

    1. Tia!!! I love your blog too! You, one of the runners that inspires me the most! They need to do a Follow that Mother for you next!! Did you hear that SBS? 🙂 This girl is the bomb! I’ll send her a private e-mail. 🙂

  7. This is so beautifully written! After I get some tissue I will go read your blog. :-). I will be cheering for you from Seattle as you run the Boston Marathon.

  8. I’m so glad Amanda’s blog is being featured. I have been following it for a while always find motivation and inspiraiton from her posts.
    Running to me means so much more when you run for someone or run for a cause or reason.
    Amanda you will ROCK Boston and i’m sure you dad will be proud!!

  9. First off, great smile, Amanda! Love seeing a fellow Portlander profiled and especially one I feel a kindred spirit with. My mother died three months before I ran my first Boston in ’08. She was my biggest cheerleader and was thrilled to know I would be running Beantown. She was with me during the race just as your father will be with you. Enjoy the race and have a fantastic time in Boston!

  10. Amanda is so awesome!! She does a great job of being honest and fun on her blog and although we haven’t yet been able to meet up in person, I can’t imagine her anything less than amazing face to face.

    Good luck Amanda, I hope that Boston is everything you are hoping it to be. You’ve worked hard, now it’s time to enjoy your efforts. Run happy!!

  11. I too am a faithful reader, dedicated fan, and borderline stalker of Amanda’s. She was my first real follower when I started my blog. She has been such an inspiration and light to me and my journey and I am incredibly grateful for all she brings to this space 🙂 Amanda, you are going to ROCK this weekend and I can NOT wait to read all about it!

  12. Amanda – you are awesome. It was a total joy to meet you at Molly’s with SBS. Your family is adorable, and your story about your dad made me so emotional. Best of luck at Boston – may all the stars align for a great race!!! <3

  13. Yeaaaaaaa Amanda!!!! So proud of all my Boston-Bound friends. I’m actually inspired enough to try for the whole 26.2…next year…and not Boston! HA! 🙂 Go get ’em Sarah!

  14. I’m a faithful follower of Amanda’s blog and it is no surprise that you got such a huge response to feature her! She not only inspires me to be the best runner I can but she also inspires me to be a better person, wife, and mother! She rocks and I know she is going to rock Boston!!

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