Special guest post by Kristin Armstrong*
*Dimity went to high school with Kristin, and blackmailed her into doing this post by threatening to release bad prom pictures Dimity had from her stint as yearbook editor.
One of my favorite quotes is by Isak Dinesen: “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” Is that true or what? A beach vacation, a good cry, or a hard run could cure just about anything, could salvage even the sourest of my moods.
Maybe that’s why I call my posse of runner girlfriends my “sweat sisters.” We have logged miles together and covered literal ground, as well as the fertile emotional ground that becomes the foundation of deep and lasting relationships. As we all know, the kind of conversations we have on a long run are unlike the kind we have anywhere else. Maybe it’s the lack of pretense in the simplicity of our attire, or the lack of makeup covering our sweaty faces. Maybe it’s the walls that come down when we are simply too tired to hold them up anymore. As the miles tick away, we become beautifully vulnerable. And that is where true conversation, the kind that leads to connection, begins.
It is precisely that conversation that is the framework for my latest book, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run. I have used some content from my blog of the same name on runnersworld.com, some articles and essays I have written for the magazine, along with new material, and grouped them thematically into 26 chapters (with titles like Friendship, Endurance, Kids, Freedom, Passion, Confidence, The Wall…) and an epilogue called “.2”. The stories are personal, but the themes are broad and inclusive. It could be the history of my sweat sisters-- or you and yours--because we all share miles on the same journey. As I say in one of my chapters on friendship, “…we were all just girls and we are all getting old.”
Some of the entries are fun, some are frustrating, some will make you weep and want to hug your child or your best friend, and some will make you want to lace up your shoes right now, and take off running. I talk about my triumphs and defeats as a runner, as a woman, as a mom, and as a friend with hopefully some honesty, humility and humor. After all, if we can’t laugh, what’s the point?
[Dimity chimes in] We are fortunate to have 10 copies of Mile Markers to give away today. In order to enter to win, all you have to do is respond to this question with your usual wit and wisdom: What significant mile marker celebrates your running? Could be a real sign you see on the road; an emotional hurdle you cleared because of running; a run that made you feel whole again; the place you meet your sweat sisters to run; a finish line you have seen--or are planning to see in the future; or any other marker that celebrates your running-hood.
[Back to Kristin] Whether or not you win, I hope you have a chance to read Mile Markers. When you do, I also hope the chapters bless you, make you feel connected and inspired, and, just like a good run with amazing women, make you a better woman than before you began.
p.s. Celebrating yet another mother runner, we offered new mom Deena Kastor's favorite outfit from Asics last week. And you guys offered up some great responses to how mothering and running are alike...creative, smart tribe, we are.
The random winner is Terzah, who writes:
Running and motherhood are alike in that the most unpleasant moments you live through make the very best stories later. Like the time I had to do number two in a ditch during a 14-miler. Or the time my mom and I, feeding the twins at 3:30 a.m. and giddy from the cumulative lack of sleep, exhorted my hungry tiny son to “Sleep! Please!” and then burst into peals of manic laughter in what was supposed to be the quiet nursery.
BTW, I don’t think wearing Deena’s clothes will be enough to make me look like her, but I’d love to try it! :^)
Congrats, Terzah! E-mail us at runmother at gmail dot com and we'll get you Deena-ized asap.