Welcome to our next round of Tales From Another Mother Runner Thursday, where we preview one of the 22 essays and authors in our forthcoming book. While our names are on the cover, the book is a truly celebration of this amazing, badass community: not only does it contain 22 essays from a range of talented writers and mother runners, it has miles of insight, advice, stories, and humor from hundreds of you. Up today is Rachel Walker, a mother to a two-year-old and a four-year-old in Boulder, CO.
Important Schedule Note: Rachel, along with local writers Terzah Becker and Michelle Theall, will join Dimity at a reading at the Tattered Cover in downtown Denver on Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m. Sarah will also have a reading that night at Powell's at 7:30 in Portland. (And there's going to be a fun pre-party in Portland.) We're pulling together the final details of our book tour now, but here's a list of a few stops we know we're making in 2015. (Little Rock Marathon: We're coming for you first!)
Ok, back to Rachel.
My running history: I began running in 9th grade when I joined the cross-country team. I was hooked. I’ve been running ever since.
My writing history: I started my journalism career in 1998 as the environmental reporter at the Jackson Hole News. After Jackson, I moved to Bend, Oregon, to report on the environment for the local paper, and in 2004 I was a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at CU-Boulder. Following the fellowship, I was hired at Skiing Magazine. Since then, I’ve made a living as a freelance writer and editor. I am also at work at a coming of age memoir about my failed attempts at training young failed racehorses into successful show jumpers on a shoestring budget in my 20's.
My essay, “Nine Runs, Nine Lives” talks about: My evolution into adulthood—and, later, motherhood—which was punctuated by distinct periods, some joyful, others less so. Running was the only thing I did consistently throughout those periods. While writing this essay, it was fun to look at my life through the prism of running. It’s a wonderful benchmark for so many milestones.
Published young: In my essay, I mention speech I wrote about being a cross-country runner in high school, which ended up being published in Runner’s World, when I was a teenager. I had no idea that was a big deal. My coach actually asked me for a transcript of what I read at the banquet and sent it in without telling me what he was doing. When he told me it was going to be published, my first thought was, “Am I going to get paid?” (I have no memory of getting paid.)
Recent memorable run: After weeks of trying, I finally coordinated a run with a girlfriend who had her third baby in late summer. I was expecting it to be more of a shuffle, since she’s in the throes of post-partum-return-to-work madness (and has three kids), and I’ve only recently ramped up my mileage after being injured (see below).
Instead it was one of those lovely warm Colorado winter days with blue skies and clear trails. We started talking and kept up a brisk pace, and before I knew it we covered about six miles and connected in a visceral way that transcended the heartfelt, but incomplete, texts and emails we’d been exchanging while each trying to stay on top of our busy lives.
Recent horrible run: While celebrating our anniversary in Aspen last June, I headed out for a 13-miler since I was training for a marathon. My husband stayed at the hotel because he was recovering from a broken femur sustained in a ski accident in March. I was woefully unprepared. It’s embarrassing to admit I didn’t even bring water. I had a vague sense of my route and a printed-off map from the Internet. My 13-mile run turned into a 17-mile epic, involving postholing through late-season snow, turning around, and calling my husband to eventually come pick me up.
All of that would be fine, except I managed to really hurt my Achilles tendon, which meant no marathon and no running for 12 weeks while I healed.
Next up on my running calendar: Buy new shoes since mine are worn out.