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Throwback Thursday: Sisterhood of the Traveling Feet

Chat-chat-chat: Miles melt while talking

Love this gem, which SBS wrote in June 2010, just three months after Run Like a Mother was released. 

I went on my first-ever big-group run last weekend. Yet amidst the crowd, one woman and I forged a special bond. J. and I had never met before, yet by the end, we both agreed we were destined to meet. We divulged more in our seven miles together than some women might share in a year of coffee get-togethers and happy hours.

The catalyst? Me admitting our twins were conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF). Turns out she is about to start a cycle of IVF in three weeks, not long after she runs a marathon on July 4. She and I were going along at a relaxed pace, yet when I told her about undergoing IVF, a perceptible weight fell off her shoulders. She turned to me and exclaimed, “I’m about to do that, and I’ve never met anyone it worked for!” We’d had an easy back-and-forth up to that point, but my admission opened the floodgates. A torrent of words poured back and forth between us. Her admitting her fears and concerns, and me honestly recounting my experiences.

I told her how I didn’t let the daily injections rule the rest of my life: Like a rough patch during a run, I told myself they were only a small part of my day, and I could get through it. How the ordeal seemed a lifetime ago, despite my twins not yet turning 5. About the incredible power of acupuncture, both leading up to treatment and on the day of the embryo transfer. (J. was so amazed, she said she was going to make an appointment for the very next day!) And about the therapeutic value of a wry sense of humor.

While I’m not embarrassed or private about having done IVF to get our second (and third!) children, it’s usually not something that comes up within the first hour of meeting someone. Yet as our feet smack-smack-smacked the pavement, artificial reproduction seemed like the most natural thing in the world to talk about. At the end of the run, I signed a copy of Run Like a Mother for her (I’m confident J. will become a mother before too long), and we shared a sweaty hug. Going into the group run, my intention was to mingle to spread the RLAM word. Instead of meeting dozens of runners, I felt fulfilled by a single bond.

15 responses to “Throwback Thursday: Sisterhood of the Traveling Feet

  1. Do you know how it turned out for J.? I hope she was able to find her way to motherhood somehow. Amazing how different a life can be in the space of 5 years!

  2. Emily, do you have a chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT) near you? It’s a great way to meet other mom runners. You can also check with specialty shops in your area – many of them organize group runs.

  3. Love this… as I am joining a new large running group in August where I won’t know anyone, this makes me excited about the potential of running friendships that I will hopefully make. Just what I needed.

  4. I trained for my one and only (so far) marathon with a group of “strangers” and I looked forward to the long runs every week because the conversations made the miles fade away. I have been trying to find a running buddy for morning runs and I am not having luck. Does anyone have any advice on how to find a running partner?

  5. I have been down this tough path, and second the acupuncture. When I was going through all this, I really could have used running as my outlet, but discovered my passion during my moderate bedrest with twins. My heart goes out to all of you with your struggles, and I hope all your dreams are granted. Keep going, as with marathons, one step in front of the other, you’ll get there, I have no doubts.

  6. My twins were not producted via IVF but rather through fertility meds (and I’m so happy that I didn’t have 4 or more and only two). I had so many complications with them and eventually they were premies and then a lot of complications with them being premature and then I got I delivered one vaginally and one emergency c-section. A lot of complications for me after as I caught an infection and my temp rose to 107 for days after. I love telling the story because now my boys are almost 15 and thriving, and I will run my 16th maratohn next month after their birth so I love to let those know there can be rainbows delivering twins. Whatever the bond is you share, there’s nothing more fun than finding one you click with.

  7. As mom of (hard to conceive) twins, I’d like to second the acupuncture suggestion. I am absolutely convinced it allowed babies 3 and 4 to finally join us. The road to motherhood is not easy for everyone…wishing your new friend the best of luck!

  8. I totally cried Sarah! This made me think of the miscarriages a friend has gone through and how much she wants to be a mother. Its weighing heavy on her but we connect on that level (having lost a little angel myself) and the bond that we share from it. We used to run together to talk about it but her body needed a rest so we usually take trips together because the next best thing to bearing your soul on the path is being stuck in a car for hours together.

  9. WOW — what great dialogue!! Great story. It’s amazing how through running, you can immediately bond with someone and can share so much more through the experience.

  10. Great post. As one of those ‘infertile girls’ who longs to be a mother, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one to spill thier guts to someone I don’t know very well. It is amazing what commonalities you find when you are open and honest. Personally, I am pouring myself into running as a way of rediscovering myself after nearly 4 years of trying to conceive. It provides such a great stress release with both physical and emotional benefits. Thanks again for the post.

  11. I met a runner/blogger for the first time this weekend and for 3 hours and 27 mins no topic went un-touched. We shared details of our lives that we often don’t share even with the closest of “friends.” But it’s amazing that a few miles and a little sweat can make runners intant friends.

  12. After being in master’s classes for over a year together, a classmate and I recently discovered we were both runners. We’ve met a few times before class to log some miles. The other day, I was telling my husband a story about her that had nothing to do with my class. My husband commented that I’d gotten really close with her in a pretty short time. My explanation to him – We’ve run together a few times!!

  13. I have a new running partner and already after two runs we know so much about each other. I think it is amazing what you feel comfortable sharing when completely drenched in sweat!

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