All this week we're celebrating eight great years of AMR'ing! Dimity kicked off the party yesterday, sharing her eight standouts from these years. Now it's my turn.
Moment #1, early 2011: Naming Our "Baby"
Given that we never set out to build a brand, it makes sense our business didn't have its official name from the get-go. "Run Like a Mother" was off-limits because someone else nabbed that trademark before we did (but since TMs don't apply to book titles, we were in the clear for our first book.) Thus, the URL of our site was the clunky "RunLikeaMotherTheBook" dot com. (Oy!) Dim and I tossed around possible names every few days, but nothing resonated. My family even got in on the act: One evening at dinner, my older daughter, then-8-year-old Phoebe, said, "You should call it, 'Another Mother Runner.' All those '-er's' sound good together."
There must have been something in the air: As we were clearing the table, Dimity called. "I've got the perfect name for our biz: Another Mother Runner. Don't you love the repetition of the "e-r's" at the end of the words?!"
Moment #2, 2012: Surprise Podcast Interview
Dear Dimity has given me many things over the years--from a pretty gold necklace with two flowers to an awesome pair of hand-me-down Paige jeans--but the greatest gift she gave me was when she turned the tables during a podcast recording and started interviewing me! The topic was going to be race-day preparation, but instead, Dimity asked me all sorts of questions about the race I was about to run--my first Boston Marathon. The conversation allowed me to contemplate my choices and my approach to the race, reflections my busy-mom life didn't allow. I was (and am) so grateful for the opportunity.
Moment #3, 2013: Boston Marathon Tragedy
I hope you don't think it's odd to choose a horrific incident as a "favorite" moment, as I wish with all the fibers in my being that the bomb explosions near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon had never happened. Yet in the swirling days after those cowardly attacks, the AMR Tribe showed its true colors. For starters, Dimity wrote one of her most beautiful, heartfelt posts on our website. As she does so often, she was able to put into words what so many of us were feeling. Then there was the outpouring of requests from you, BAMRs, for AMR to produce something that could unite us and help us heal. Thus we made our first of many ♥ run tops, this one with the quiet reminder of "4/15/13," the date of tragedy. For me, wearing that tee made me feel even more connected to the AMR Tribe.
Moment #4, 2014: Napa Valley Ragnar Relay
Funny: Dimity's #4 Moment was our first Ragnar Relay. I loved that Maryland adventure, too, but it's snippets from that California race that randomly spring to my mind. Especially the final leg of the race. I was training to qualify for Boston a second time, so you'd think I was in peak condition. But extreme heat and the strong California sun kicked my arse--and that of a teammate who has since gone on to become one of our 33 BAMRbassadors, Jodi Snowdon. Jodi and I each had longer-than-usual segments to run, in the heat of the afternoon. I knew I was in for trouble when Jodi handed off the slap bracelet--she looked fried. My leg was nearly 9 miles long, and it was supposed to be unsupported, meaning team vans weren't allowed to stop or give anything to teammates along that section of the race. Well, the "Mama Bear" of our van, Melissa Gilley (who has since become the event coordinator of our Retreats!), took one look at Jodi, and said, ahem, screw that!
My teammates dashed to a supermarket to buy popsicles and cold water before catching up to me and stopping at about mile 6. I doubt sailors stranded on desert islands have ever been happier to see a boat than I was to spy that parked van! I wept tears of gratitude and humility as I told my teammates how utterly depleted and challenged I felt. They all let me have my moment...then told me to carry on. Their supportive love--and popsicles--replenished my body and soul, and I surged in the final miles.
Moment #5, April 2015: Debut AMR Retreat
For years, Dimity and I knew we wanted to host a running Retreat. A chance to hang out and really get to know a group of women runners, over meals and miles. But it wasn't until we were guests of the lovely Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, that I suddenly knew, in my gut, we'd found the right place. So the next year we convened with about 40 women to run, eat, laugh, learn, foam roll, and build friendships that have flourished in the intervening three years. This Little Rock extended weekend was the first of several Retreats--first once a year, and now two this year. And next year we might even double that number! As much as we love the virtual elements of AMR, there's something almost magical that happens when we convene in person.
Moment #6, May 2015: Fractured Ankle
Barely two weeks after the Little Rock Retreat, I fractured my ankle in four places while scouting the location for our 2016 Retreat. The accident happened while my colleague, Jonna, and I were on a run with a mother runner, Hillary, we'd met just a few miles before. I literally feel nauseated merely looking at the photos accompanying the post Dimity put up to announce my injury to the Tribe.
But that queasiness is quickly replaced by a warmth that starts in my heart and flows through my body as I recollect the deep love and support members of the AMR Tribe showed me in the weeks and months after my accident and resulting surgery (to inserts pins and rods into my ankle). The care packages and gifts (e.g. a set of cocktail napkins from Jennifer in N.C. that read "i may appear harmless...but inside i'm completely badass." The pretty pink lipgloss from Natalie in Wisconsin. The hardcover copy of The Light Between Oceans from Rachel in Australia.) and the cards. So many wonderful cards--with uplifting, heartfelt messages.
Throughout my convalescence, I felt buoyed and supported by BAMRs across the globe: Whether or not I heard from you via cards and social media, I knew women were sending me well wishes and prayers. I am 100% certain my full recovery would not have been possible without that love. Thank you.
Moment #7, 2016: Coterie of Co-hosts
I love how multi-faceted my roles and responsibilities are within AMR, but if I have to choose my favorite "hat" to wear, it's being host of our podcast. Every week, when I finish a recording, I'm on a natural high! When Dimity and I kicked it off in the summer of 2011, neither of us would have ever guessed it would be going gangbusters still in 2018. Yet, thankfully, here we are!
In early 2016, we decided to bring in new voices, literally, by introducing what I, an alliteration-loving writer, dubs "a rotating coterie of co-hosts." Longtime website contributor Adrienne Martini. My book-loving friend Ellison Weist. Train Like a Mother Club Coach Christine Hinton (later "replaced" by Coach Amanda Loudin). My always-make-me-laugh best running friend Molly Williams. And, of course, Dimity. This year, we added more goodness to the mix with AMR social media director Maggie Palmer and former Runner's World podcast co-host Tish Hamilton. I love how they each bring their own wit, insight, and running experience to the mic.
Moment #8, Eights Years+: Expos
As I wrote about Retreats: While connecting online is fantabulous, there's something about meeting in person that lights my fire. Selling and speaking at race expos--from the 2010 Hippie Chick Half-Marathon where it was me, a stack of yellow books, and one style of T-shirt (but, hey, in two colors choices!) to repeat trips to the Twin Cities Marathon and everything in between--is where I hit my stride. Introducing new women to our Tribe and embracing devoted BAMRs, while hawking our wares, feels fun and fresh every time. I draw energy from your energy, and I feel deeply humbled by your gratitude.
As I often say at our booth: No, thank you! Sincerely and seriously: Thank YOU.