In the hopes of winning a NordicTrack Commerical 1750 Treadmill, nearly 1,000 of you lovely women gave us your top five ingredients for your run. Wow. Which gave me roughly 5,000 ingredients to read through. And on Wednesday, I spent about 4 hours and read through every.single.one: perhaps the best, most focused time I've spent in the past two weeks?
I just had to share a few—or a slightly way more than a few—because they're just too good to just head into the Internet fog. I'll spend the introduction to tomorrow's post talking about how hard it was to pick a winner of the NordicTrack Treadmill, so without further ado, I'll leave you to these marvelous, funny, insightful, tasty ingredients. (And I won't spill the beans: the winner of the treadmill might be listed among these ingredients today. Or she may not be...stay tuned.)
Life. When I’m fit, Life has a capital L. I’ll never be any younger so want the fullest life I can have.
When I started running I had been struggling with itchy rashes that kept popping up on my body. After doctors appointments and biopsies, they realized they were stress hives. All the pieces were realized: my dad had been diagnosed with leukemia, I was pregnant with my second baby, and my husband was leaving the state to train to be a commercial diver for 5 months. After I started running, the hives went away. It became my stress release.
Drive: The last few miles of my long run, when I so desperately want to stop and walk, but don’t. It’s those moments that I feel most alive.
I run for my husband and a cure for his brain cancer. He encourages me and is my biggest fan and supporter. I tell myself that each mile I run is one more year that he will be with me.
Rebirth: Parts of me have died over the years…lost friends, elusive goals…running gives some of those parts back.
My connection to my body. It wants me to move. After years of setting goals and doing long races, I’m realizing that it doesn’t matter how far or how fast, but that I have to move until I hit that point when my body says “Yep! That’s what I needed! The rest of the day is all yours!”
Kids: Running away from them! Don’t get me wrong, love my kids but have you ever been driving home from work thinking “do I really have to go home tonight and deal with baths, homework, and bed time routines…gosh how I wish I could just keep on driving"? Now, I would never really run away but when I go running,I get that little burst of freedom. I feel it. That feeling is priceless and recharges me for my next mommy I didn’t make it to the toilet situation.
Pitbull: I once had so much of his music on my race playlist I joked he was my race sponsor.
My past: When I started running, every step was motivated by the people and things in my past that tried to keep me down and tried to take away my spirit. My RoadID says, “It’s OK, Run it Out.” I’ve won that race, but will never forget what brought me to this wonderful community.
My Glamorise bra. No one else has been able to keep the girls in line like you have. We all three thank you.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Because it is without a doubt, my most favorite place to run in the entire world.
The prep process. There’s something zen-like about my process of getting ready to run, from changing into my workout clothes to thumbing on my phone to my audiobook or tunes. I have type 1 diabetes so there’s also a whole regimen to getting my blood sugars and insulin pump in the zone. I feel like I start getting the mental health benefits of a run from the moment I start prepping, and it only gets better when I actually start moving!
Finishing First when I’m really 1144th: I will never win but I ALWAYS finish a winner.
That settling down feeling after mile 2. Mile 1 really, really stinks and my head is filled with “ouch, am I done yet, how far did I say I want to go today, what are we having for dinner?” Mile 1 to 2 still sinks, it’s “OK I’m glad I’m out but it still hurts and I’m still not having fun, and I don’t want to go to the grocery store”. But when I look down at my watch to begin mile 3, it’s “I’ve got this, maybe I’ll take a different route today, should I go longer, why was I obsessing about my ‘to-do’ list”. Ahhhh…
My feet. I love them. I HATE them. I need them. They’ve been giving me lots of problems lately (PF), but I know somehow, someway, they are trying to teach me a lesson…
Shoes from my local running store. No substitute.
Trees and breeze and falling leaves. (No, that’s not three ingredients, it’s nature and poetic.)
My sister for being my one running companion who gets me. We don’t have to entertain each other. If we need to be quiet we are, and if we need to be yelled at to get our arses moving we do.
What I hope isn’t an elusive goal: a sub 2:00 half.
My daughter saying that my first job is fixing computers, and the second is running everywhere.
An elderly Italian man who told me I was beautiful every lap even when I was gasping for breath and was still really overweight.
The plan: the own it plan on my fridge with sharpie smiley faces… those smiley faces add so much purpose to my life.
Lessons learned from collegiate division three cross country at Macalester College: I wasn’t in it to win it, but I learned how to push myself and stay healthy.
All of my dorky running gear, including my fuel belt. (Yes, I have been known to use it on runs of 3 miles or less.)
Listening to the sounds of the earth: my feet hitting dirt, leaves rustling, squirrels jumping, wind blowing.
My inner math nerd. Miles, paces, speeds, splits. You name it, I love it. I play math games throughout my runs more times than I care to admit!
A running buddy who demands that I follow through with my bright ideas.
My weekly “functional power” class at the gym, which constantly humbles me. Who knew that doing burpees for 7 minutes would be harder than running a marathon?
My former, MUCH larger self. She propels me forward, living vicariously through the smaller me….so proud of how far “we” have come.
Almonds. Love ‘em. (that’s a podcast reference that had me laughing for days – b/c I am obsessed and eat them every day! EVERY DAY!)
Much younger friend to create training plan he thinks I can finish. (I cheat a little.)
These two cute old ladies who are ALWAYS on my running path doing their daily walking. They cheer me on like nobody’s business and I don’t even know their names!
A kick a$$ running outfit consisting of favorite capris, long sleeve shirt, hat, NEW socks and shoes still in their first 75 miles.
Synchronized swimming. Through 11 years as a synchronized swimmer, I developed amazing lung capacity, which made the transition to distance running easy! (On my lungs that is… leg muscles… not so much!)
My badass legs.They tell the story of the miles I have gone.
2010: the year I turned 40, was told by my doctor I had high blood pressure, and my family lost our home and all our possessions in the Nashville flood. While rebuilding our home, I decided to rebuild MYSELF. I started my running journey and lost 60 lbs.
Lycra. As a plus-sized mom I am unable to live without this magic thread
The Comments section on the Another Mother Runner website: I love perusing posts from this tribe of women about how to succeed as a BAMR. While reading the comments I have cried tears of both laughter and sorrow, been inspired, learned tricks of the trade, and have felt a sense of community that I’m not alone in this crazy marriage of mothering and running.
My PT exercises that make me not pee my pants while running.
The one half marathon medal on my door. I really think it needs some friends hanging there.
Sticking to my motto: Choose it – Do it – Own it
The New Hampshire coastline. I so lucky to live by the beach; there are only 13 miles of coast in New Hampshire but they are 13 scenic miles.
Coffee. Must have a cup before I head out. And the “morning ceremony” of coffee makes for a more zen run.
My BRC (Best Running Canine). My yellow Lab mix Lambeau and I put in hundreds of miles before he passed away in February. Now our new rescue dog Hank is my enthusiastic running companion.
Hair out of my face. I’ve used some grass/vines that didn’t work. and I’ve scoured the running path/road for discarded ponytail holders or bobbypins. Compulsive? Whatever.
The first post-partum run at 7 weeks. I only went a mile but it might have been the BEST mile I have ever run.
Money. I just started “paying” myself a dollar per mile (up from a dollar per run) in an attempt to be able to afford the gear and race fees that I would like without having to pony up on my credit card all at once. So far, it’s working
A cold post-run beer. I’ll be honest, I always have one after my long Saturday run, even if it’s only 9:00 in the morning.
Sunglasses, specifically my prescription sunglasses so I realize the nice Mother Runner who just greeted me is actually my son’s chemistry teacher!
Finding something better than the partying ways of my twenties.
Weekly fitness plan: If the plan sayeth, it shall be done.
The best self confidence this OMG-I’m-going-to-be-40-next-month woman has ever had.
Seeing the kids at recess. If I time it right, I get to have a conversation with my favorite people during their school recess (which adds more smiles to my miles).
Having my husband say. “I’m really proud of you.”
2013 Boston Marathon. Days following the Boston marathon bombing I decided to start running again after taking roughly 15 years off. The first day I got out there I pushed myself to keep running for those who couldn’t.
Chapstick in my bra: perfect place.
Pink & black, the colors of 90% of my running gear.
Mother Nature to keep me connected to something bigger than myself.
My ex-husband, who told me as I had just finished a marathon (30 seconds over a Boston Qualifier) “You aren’t going to keep trying are you?”
A sense of outrage on longer runs. It fires me up so I can keep going when I don’t think I can. Past topics include ex-boyfriends (I’ve been married ten years), arguments with friends, responses to rude people and anything, really anything that fires me up.
I love a perfect fall or spring day as much as the next girl, but honestly, I can’t decide if my favorite runs are done in the brisk jarring cold or in the super sweaty salt caked on your face heat. It’s a major toss up.
A towel to sit on … because my bladder is sometimes a little questionable during the speed workouts and I need something to protect my car seats!
Touchstone. Running lets me know where I stand with myself. I ran the day after I found out I had cancer to prove to myself that I would be ok. I ran the day before my son was born to prove that my body was capable. Running is my barometer.
That feeling you get after a run, you know the one; like nothing can go wrong, your kids are amazing, your husband is hot, your house is clean (enough) and life is really really good.
My lungs. I was a sick, asthmatic kid, and my mom still thinks that it is amazing that I can run half marathons. I do too. Every run, I thank my lungs.
A competitive streak. It pushed me to qualify for the Boston marathon because I wanted to be as fast as my younger sisters. (We then ran Boston together, and I beat them both!)
My breath. I hate the first mile. Always. It’s hard, it hurts, my body is trying to rebel, but if I can find my breath and just breathe, just relax into my breath and let my body follow, then all is good. I love the sound of my breath. I never use headphones, I like to listen to my breath, and my feet hitting the ground.
My custom orthotics: my feet are whack.
Eyelash extensions that make me look like I have makeup on when I never do…amazing!
Athlete: There was also that time I heard myself say, “I only ran six miles today” ONLY!
Being a friend to myself. I know it might sound weird, but when I’m running (almost always alone) I am kinder and more encouraging to myself. It is a time to just be me, not wife or mom, just me.
Shaved legs. (I have no idea why.)
My mother’s old sports bra. I’m talking a slightly-rusted metal slide clasps old. I haven’t found another one I like better.
Running memories. It is a funny thing but the past is a strong motivator to keep moving forward. These runs make me who I am–whether I’m contemplating the run that saved my life as I fled the falling World Trade Center in 2001 or the beautiful runs through the hills of Berkeley in graduate school. Each memorable run powers me through my present.
Mole Patrol: That’s the name my friends and I have given ourselves since we are up and out in the dark running in the EARLY am! These ladies keep me motivated, accountable, and entertained. They save me thousands of dollars in therapy as well!
Fire Jolly Ranchers, so I have a little fire in my belly to keep me going.
My son Liam, 5, gets so excited when we see other mother runners outside…”Look Mom, there’s another badass mother runner!!” (His exact words: hahaha.) They are proud of me and always cheer me on and squeal when they get sweaty post-run hugs.
Running jacket I won from a Fleet Feet store. It’s the only item I own with thumbholes. The manager—a man— probably thinks I’m crazy for being so excited over thumbholes.
My older brother, who was killed in Afghanistan 5 years ago. Since then, not a run goes by when I don’t think of him. We are military, and when stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, I ran with a group that honored fallen soldiers. Since then, I have made it my personal mission to run a mile for every military member killed in action during the War on Terror. This amounts to over 6750 miles [as of today] and though it’ll take me years, I will get it done. It’s the least I can do for our military, in my own way.
Carrots. No, not ACTUAL carrots, although those are fine. I need proverbial carrots: chai lattes, afternoon naps, a never-say-no-to-ice-cream attitude. My running allows me to enjoy all of life’s indulgences without feeling too much guilt. (I’d indulge in even more things – like massage – if only the purse strings allowed!)
My parents. When I was training for my first half, I did a 10-mile loop that went past their house. My dad not only left a bottle of water out, he put ORANGE CONES around it so I could see it and no one would take it!
My partner, who makes every effort to keep up with my milestones, encourages me even when it seems dumb (“don’t you have to be up at 0400 tomorrow?”), and never fails to tell me how hot I am post-run.
Coffee once a month at 5:00 a.m. at McDonalds when “our friend Ruby” comes to visit. My BRFs and I actually look forward to having our periods now! And we must spend lots of time together because we are miraculously on the same cycle.
Quarter sized blood blisters (the most infamous named “Elvis” that was acquired during a half in Memphis) under the ball of my foot.
I need to amend my previous response. In addition to my family, dog, and treadmill, I have to give proper thanks and respect for having a healthy, able body. I am at work in the hospital right now, with a patient who is a young mom, dying of cancer, in distress over leaving behind her darling little boy. Health is something we take for granted all too often, and is something that can be taken from us so swiftly and without warning or warrant. God bless all of you mother runners out there and hug your kids every chance you get! [Editor's note: Exactly!]