Tell Me Tuesday: On Being Epic



I have received so much positive feedback about my Epic Ironmother feature in the April issue of Runner's World (it's not online yet); thank you all for your kind words and notes. I promise, I won't be all Midwestern middle child and detract from my race or effort or training, because I rocked those 140.6 miles.

That said, I wanted to repeat a line I wrote in the story that somebody tweeted back to me, and I'm very glad wasn't edited at all.

Going big isn't really about the distance: It's about taking on something that isn't necessarily a gimme. 

On our 100th episode podcast, we relistened to Bart Yasso talking about the incredible stories he hears at races. Stories that floor him, stories told by people who he can't believe are standing in front of him and are going to cross a finish line.

In the past few weeks, I've been reading a lot of mother runner stories that floor me—and make my heart hurt. Paula, a mother runner in the AMR Strava Prove It Challenge, lost her husband to colon cancer. The son of Anna, another mother runner in the Challenge, was disagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Cynthia, a total BAMR I had the honor of running with a few years ago, had a huge scare when her son Sam started seizing and needed a helicopter evac. I've also read of breast biopsies and season-ending injuries. All stuff that stops me in my tracks and makes me want to simulateously give the mother runner a hug and take her for a run and let her vent and cry and laugh.

And I've read notes and tweets and status updates about the Epic story that also make me want to give the writer a hug and go for a run with her and talk about how she's going to do something that isn't a gimme.

I've done a lot of virtual hugging and running lately.

I wrote this post in my head at 6 a.m. this morning as I loped through six miles, but it's not tying neatly up with a bow as I mentally made it in the morning darkness. (Hate it when that happens.)

So I just want to acknowledge that I'm thrilled to inspire people to go big, to take on something that isn't necessarily a gimme.

But I also want to acknowledge that the inspiration goes both ways. Both Sarah and I are motivated daily by women living floor-us stories, women who are in the process of doing epic, tough-to-even-comprehend things that don't even involve running. And they're still running. That is epic.

We all put in the miles. If we're lucky, it's so we can simply cover more miles in a race. Sometimes, though, we need them to withstand an epic journey we never saw coming. Sending Ironmother strength, hugs, and virtual runs to all who are in those kind of journeys right now. xo

Hoping you feel the Mother Runner Circle of Life too: How has it graced you lately? 

21 responses to “Tell Me Tuesday: On Being Epic

  1. Ferren, good luck on your run. I know the pain of miscarriage and the need to honor the due date of a little one you’ve lost. My thoughts are with you.

  2. I needed this! Especially this week, I’m running my first half marathon this weekend! I’m super excited and nervous! 7 months ago I had a miscarriage and it almost killed me, I know that some people go through so much worse in life but knowing that still doesn’t take away the pain. I found this half marathon randomly one day and I just knew that I had to run it (my baby would have been born this week) Running and training has kept me going when I didn’t think I could go anymore! I am so grateful for wonderful inspiring stories from others! I am so glad I have found this blog through a dear friend!

  3. Great motivation. I’m part of the Strava group and today I ofically signed up for my first half-marathon. Training aside, I know I can do it because I am a member of a fabulous tribe of women… Women who support and cheer for me even though we have never met. (and I’m cheering for all of you too!) I’m encouraged every time I run because I know you are all out there training with me. It’s a powerful thing. EPIC. Thanks to Sarah and Dimity for leading us onward!

  4. Your writing (and your races/adventures) never cease to move me or inspire me. I loved the RW article (all your posts about IM) and this post, too. The the line that epic = anything not a gimme. I have not been feeling too epic lately – no big races, nothing major on the horizon, just trying to stay afloat, sane and maintain some fitness during this crazy cold winter. Maybe that is my epic right now. But I gotta plot out something soon that is just outside my confront zone – and then I’ll think of you, SBS, this group and my awesome friends that meet me on the corner to run – and I’m definitely not lacking for inspiration. Kick in pants. Check. 🙂

  5. Such a great article. I’m training for my first Ironman this year (IMAZ), and doubting myself at every step. Reading that quote from Carrie Cheadle about doubt really resonated with me. I have a feeling I will re-read this article many times!

  6. I am fairly new to the AMR blog, and sometimes I consider myself a lurker since I don’t have children of my own. I am, however, a stepmom, so I’m thinking that still qualifies me by the skin of my teeth. All of the wonderful stories of victories no matter how small or how grand, the obstacles beaten to a pulp, the inspiration, the tears, the sweat, the fortitude, perseverance, courage, and compassion from all of you have seeped into my subconscious and helped me complete my first half marathon this past Sunday. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. The ‘Epic’ article inspired and moved me. It was also especially timely as I am training for my first marathon. I can so relate to Dimity’s highs, lows, hunger, doubts, exhaustion, exhilaration, aches, accomplishments, etc. My friends and family think I am crazy for logging hundreds of miles this during one of the coldest winters in MN history. It’s been grueling and lonely, but I am having the time of my life. To all the other mothers out there, and in whatever context it applies to you: Be epic!

  8. I have read this article more than once – and even underlined parts of it!! There are some GREAT quotes in here. I can’t tell you how much I LOVED it. Within the last week, I’ve signed up for my first full marathon and a Ragnar team – this article was the perfect EPIC motivation I needed!

    And – I’m not a “mother” runner, as my only kid is a cat – but I never, ever feel like you exclude us non-mothers. I listen to and learn from your podcasts and blogs and books like crazy! So THANK YOU for being real, for being epic, for being encouraging, and for reaching ALL of us lady runners!!

  9. Hello virtual friends on Strava 13.1 ! I too was so excited to see that article…someone had posted about it but my issue had not arrived yet. When it did I ran it to my husband, shouting “look, that’s Dimity!” Because in my mind, Dimity, Sarah going for Boston, Phoebe VG – they are epic. They are all doing something that most of us will never do. I’m so not epic – I’m mediocre. But being a part of this sisterhood of mother runners, this sisterhood of wives, daughters, full time workers, cooks, housekeepers, volunteers – makes me realize that sometimes just getting out the door is epic. That we value ourselves to take care of our bodies and our mental health – thats epic. Sometimes things get so crazy that just getting in a run feels like a victory. And I’ll take that victorious feeling anytime! Thanks y’all for helping us be epic in our own little way.

  10. I LOVE this. Will be heading out today to pick me up a copy. I am looking at the Utah Valley Half, the St. Jude Half in 2014 and the Myrtle Beach Full. That’s my running goals for the next 11 months. I will be posting this picture on my wall next to my training schedules. I am a solo runner mostly because I do not have enough self-confidence to run with someone else and I did just move to Utah making it my 12 move, BUT when I am out there I hear all of the women in this group and their awesome chatter on Facebook and all the encouragement and teaching from you and Sarah. I feel like I have a huge group of friends running with me. I am so thankful. You both rock!!!!!

  11. I read this Runners World article last night right before I was supposed to fall asleep. Bad idea! After I was done, I couldn’t fall asleep for another 2 hours because I was feeling so inspired and pumped up and ready to MOVE. My Go Big plan for this summer is to finally move up from a 5K to a 10K. Thanks for the extra fuel 🙂

  12. I feel a little selfish saying I was a bit late to the Strava half marathon challenge feed because I was generally ticked off I couldn’t run outside because of the bitter weather. So, I didn’t run and I didn’t post to Strava or look at it. Joyce’s story and others remind me that I certainly was physically able (on the treadmill) and that’s a gift that I shouldn’t take for granted.

    Now I am back on track-literally- and WOW what inspiration I am receiving…and hopefully giving…to my fellow mother runners and sole sisters on Strava. Good lesson to learn.

    Dimity, I have enjoyed your Ironmother stories several times. Great coverage in RW. Keep preachin’, sister!

  13. I too felt such a sense of pride reading your article. It was as if my own sister had written it. I wanted to just call you up and say “Wow! You continue to amaze me. I am so proud to call you my own. YOU are epic!”
    The guidance and encouragement I receive from this tribe is really indescribable. I am stuck right now, lost I should say. I am looking for my purpose, my path, my challenge. I am coming off my first big race and not having that “big day” ahead of me has really affected me. I haven’t really been following the podcasts as I don’t listen to anything when I run, but yesterday I downloaded all of them and listened to the one with Christopher McDougall. It was exactly the conversation I needed to hear. Dimity you even made a point of bringing him back to running for the love of running at the end which was what I was looking for. I am planning on running today with no expectations or times. I am just going to run. And when I feel tired I will stop and come home. Thank you for sharing with us and encouraging us to share with each other.

  14. Can’t wait to read your article! Can’t wait to run either. I’ve been a bystander at every race I’ve signed up for in 2014 due to a tibial stress fracture in January and a “urgent” total hysterectomy on March 6th. Thankful though that up until the surgery I’ve been able to swim and cycle and can thank that for the fact that yesterday, less than 10 days out from surgery, I walked a 5K at a 14:50 pace. I’ve got my eyes on an April 1st running comeback! You guys are always an inspiration!

  15. Going big isn’t really about the distance: It’s about taking on something that isn’t necessarily a gimme – This applies to everything in life. Thank you Sarah and Dimity for the inspiration. Many hugs to you!!

  16. Stay strong, Joyce! Listen to your knees and your heart and they’ll lead the way :)Thanks for sharing your story.

  17. Very inspiration, especially the quote you mention in your blast. It summed up why I signed on for the AMR Strava Virtual Half. This is definitely a reach for me. I love how you and Sarah continue to inspire and motivate women, not just for running but for life. So many women in corporate America do just the opposite. Continue to inspire!

  18. I am struggling with a running decision right now. In August, I had knee surgery to repair my IT band and some other issues. My problems started the previous winter, and progressed throughout the year. I attempted to run a half marathon in April, and had to drop out because the pain became too intense. It was a terrible moment; I had encouraged several first timers, and we all attended the race together. I had to dry up my own tears and cheer them on at the finish.

    Fast forward through time off, physical therapy, several failed attempts at running, and finally surgery. My knee is much better, but building back my running endurance and speed is taking so long. That same race, The Kentucky Derby Mini, is in 4 weeks. I so want to run it, but am also quite apprehensive that I won’t be able to complete it – again. I ran nine miles Saturday, and plan to run ten this weekend. Last night I blogged about my inner struggle, and a young friend of mine who was a distance runner in college, and was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease her senior year of college, texted. Because of the treatments, her lungs took quite a beating, so she can no longer run. She still coaches our high school girls track and cross country teams, but she can’t do what she loves. Her text said, ‘Run the Derby! I would give up lots to be able to run it even if it was an 11:00 pace! Do it!’

    How can I not? I will run that race, and I will run it for Katie. Sometimes we have to look beyond ourselves and do things that scare us because others are watching and need us to. Mother runners inspire me all the time. Knowing others have run when there are countless obstacles in their way makes my runs easier. I might not be as fast, and my knee still hurts a little, but I can run, and for now, that’s enough.

  19. Your article was brilliant. I loved reading it you are so inspirational. I followed your journey with your training and on the day and on your podcast. All fantastic. 70.3 is my furthest distance not sure about 140.6 but, I never say never

  20. I felt so proud of you while reading the article. I think we all felt as though we were along for the ride (swim and run) last year, and reading about it all over again reminded me how much you put into training for that one day. Epic for sure!

    The Strava 13.1 group motivates me on a daily basis. Knowing that we are all on the same plan, while working those runs into our unique lives and schedules, has made me feel part of something bigger than just my own upcoming half. I want us all to succeed and I know that the other 150+ BAMRs feel the same way. It’s nice to have that daily reminder that we’re in this together!

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