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Why I Run: Phoebe VSG

Just after my 1/2 marathon PR Memorial Day Weekend with my 5-year-old son, Elliot. I know it's more of my kid than of me... but he's WAY cuter.

The first of many guest posts by other mother runners we know (and love). Kicking it off is Phoebe VanScoy Geissler, a New Hampshire mom of two boys who you can find at

It started with an email.

SBS: Hey, Phoebe! Dim & I were hoping you would do a guest post for Another Mother Runner. It’s title will be “Why I Run.” And can we have it by Saturday?

PVG: Sure! No problem! What an honor. I love you ladies. I love to run. I love to write. And I’ve written about running a jillion times on my blog. This is great. I’m excited. “Why I Run.” Gotcha. Easy peasy. Aaaaannnnndddd... Go!

<<Cricket, cricket. Cricket, cricket...>>

Crumb! This is hard! For someone who runs a lot and writes a lot about her running, I should be able to knock out a blog post about it very quickly. I think maybe my trouble here is there are SO many reasons I run that whittling it down to a couple of paragraphs a huge challenge. So, when faced with this Monumental Crisis (BTW, the way you know life is going pretty well is when not being able to verbalize “Why I Run” is deemed a “Monumental Crisis”), I punted by killing the first section with a yarn about how writing about “Why I Run” is hard to do.

Wait. What?...

Enough jacking around. These ladies want succinct insight, not blathering. So here it is:
*I run because I wear a teeny invisible badge of honor every day after I’ve hit the pavement. Never underestimate the power of a teeny invisible badge of honor.
*I run because it’s not so bad to like the looks of your own legs when you’re pushing 40. And it’s not so bad when other people like the looks of them, too!
*I run because it’s the one arena I have that gives me quantifiable data that affirms my efforts. Yeah, a half-marathon PR can’t give you a hug or a misspelled Mother’s Day card, but it also won’t suddenly, and inexplicably, refuse to get on the school bus.
*I run because I like the looks on the faces of people who ask “What did you do this weekend?” and I get to say, “Oh, I had a long training run...18 miles.” I’m not sure if it’s awe or a genuine concern for my mental health, but either way: It’s priceless.
*And I know it’s gonna sound like pandering, but I honestly run because of the lovin’ I get from the Run Like a Mother: The Book Facebook page and this another mother runner website. Our tribe has every conceivable type of running mom. It’s a safe place to lament a poor showing at a race or “celebrate your awesome” when things go your way. There’s always someone who’s been where I am, and there’s always someone who might benefit from my experience. And always, ALWAYS, there’s room for a good laugh at ourselves and how we cope. This haven on the Interweb definitely, definitely keeps me running.




23 responses to “Why I Run: Phoebe VSG

  1. I couldn’t agree more with, “There’s always someone who’s been where I am, and there’s always someone who might benefit from my experience. And always, ALWAYS, there’s room for a good laugh at ourselves and how we cope. This haven on the Interweb definitely, definitely keeps me running.”

    I love my blog and sometimes when I run I think of all the funny weird things I see around Japan and how I can relay them via my next blog post! I love that we all can communicate, motivate and keep ourselves accountable this way!

  2. Made me smile. So relatable. I love to share my mileage. Just yesterday I had an eager fan and I told him I usually don’t talk about it, because you’ll never shut me up. And Yeah! He stuck around to hear all about it.

  3. I like to boast my miles to my snarky eye rolling coworker, who has implyed I am to fat and tall to run. And that I must be crazy to run at 5am.
    I think…eat my dust you lazy beast!

  4. Phoebe – After running for 25 years, you are the reason I did my first road race. Not to one up you, but to understand the thrill of running with a ‘herd’ of incredibly happy people versus uber-competitive track geeks. Thank you. And when Maddy gets faster than me (which will be soon), I am sending her to NH to live with you. XOXO

  5. I love these reasons! There are exactly the reasons I run too, but you’re much funnier about it. I’ve been telling people for days about my 16 mile run, because I love their reaction. See, I just did it again!

  6. I love the part about how your half-marathon PR will never refuse to get on the school bus. Someone should write a post comparing races to kids in other ways…..Do you volunteer? :^)

  7. Oh I love the invisible badge of honor – never would have put that together myself, but it’s so right on!! This morning, I really didn’t want to get up and hit the treadmill … but I did and then I felt like I could do anything!

  8. LOVE this! Maybe we all should start making a bulleted list of why we run and add to it as a new one comes up?! GREAT motivation for me, thanks.

  9. Sister – if you’re gonna wear an “invisible” badge of honor don’t make it “teeny” – make it “ginormous”! Who will know?

    And how long had you been running before you did your first half?

    1. I ran in Jr High & HS and did a 20K after my senior year… That’s fairly 1/2 marathon-ish. I did another half marathon in 2001-ish as training for a marathon (that I never completed due to non-running-related knee surgery). The NEXT half marathon I did was while I was training for a full in 2009. So, to answer your question, it’s hard to say how long I’d been running before I did my first half. I WILL say that running a half as part of training for a full makes the 1/2 seem like CANDY! But my PR in May was set when I had a very half-specific training plan. If I had to suggest a minimum time to train (from being a non-runner) for a 1/2, I’d suggest 3 or 4 months. If you’re already running, you can crank that puppy out in 2 months. (How’d ya like that 10,000 word answer to a 8 word question!?)

      Also… my invisible badge is teeny because it’s very heavy for it’s size. Who knew!?

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