Train Like a Mother: What’s Your Favorite Race?

Guessing this marathon--a 2 minute, 20 second PR for Michelle--might be her favorite race. Definitely her favorite pic: check out her airborne cheerleaders!

Our second-to-last TLAM outtake, mother runners. Enjoy.

Take It From a Mother: What's Your Favorite race?

“So far, the Iron Girl Triathlon last year. It was my first and I did better than I thought I would. I went to all the pre-race clinics and workshops. I learned a lot about racing and also about myself.”
—Dawn (no longer has any doubts about her ability to do anything, “as long as I prepare myself by training properly.”)

“The Kiawah Island Half Marathon with my husband to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.”
—Tyler (favorite race distance: 10 miles.“ It's long enough that you have to train, but short enough that it doesn’t take over your life.”)

“My first Danskin. Couldn’t believe I’d done it. The energy from the spectators was amazing! I felt so powerful and strong. Oh, if I could bottle that feeling!”
—Holly (felt like a “real” runner when she figured out how to breathe while running, instead of walking to catch her breath)

“Loved the sunrise coming up over the water at the ING Miami Half Marathon. Amazing view from the top of the McArthur Causeway.”
—Melissa (cannot run fewer than three miles at a time. “It usually takes me a mile or two to feel good.”)

“My favorite race ever was a 4-mile trail race in some woods behind a truck stop in my hometown. It was called the X-Country Xtreme, and the year my husband and I ran it was its first running. Everything was just perfect about that day: running with my husband, running over obstacles including a cattle gate, a muddy creek bank you had to scale with a rope, a giant hill. The weather was cold and overcast and the race organizers built a bonfire. At the end, despite the hills and the obstacles, I felt great, and I passed lots of people (including lots of guys). I ended up being third woman and got a crazy trophy made out of splintery wood culled from the race course. We hung out to watch the costume contest, then went to Waffle House. It was perfect.”
—Terzah (worst race was a 10k she ran a minute slower than the prior year. “I shouldn’t have had such high expectations, but I did. I cried in the massage line.”)

“My favorite race was the Kapiolani Women’s Only 10k in Oahu. We happened to be on the island for vacation and I was training for my first marathon. I thought it would be a good way to have a running goal on vacation. Running up Diamond Head and the ocean views were beautiful. It was warm, sunny, breezy, and a race I won’t forget.”
—Andrea (Zumba is her favorite cross training activity. “It’s social, fun for all, funny to watch, and gives an awesome sweaty workout.”)

“I loved running the Grand Rapids Marathon. It wasn’t the race or the course itself. I just loved that I ran the whole thing and that the race director gave me a big hug at the finish line, just like he said he would in one of the pre-race emails to participants.”
—Robin (most proud of her marathons, but her favorite race distance is a 10k or half-marathon)

Twin Cities Marathon series 10k. I got to meet a bunch of women I was corresponding with through the Biggest Loser, as well as one of the Biggest Loser fitness experts.”
—Carol (loves the adrenaline rush in the jostling at the beginning of a race)

“The 2010 RNR Half Marathon in Las Vegas. My brother’s band was on the stage at Mile 12 and there’s nothing like running along and hearing your name being called out from stage by your little brother.”
—Carla (also loves women’s events. “You are surrounded by so many other women who are all there to accomplish the same goal. My first Zooma half in Annapolis I actually got teary-eyed as I looked ahead at the huge group of women running.”)

The Boston Marathon. Because it’s Boston! I had qualified two years earlier and then gotten pregnant so I was running it 11 months post-partum. I had trained for it in Russia during a horrible winter when it was too icy to run outside so I had to do most of my long runs on a treadmill that was next to swimming pool (don’t ask!). I flew back from Russia by myself with my 11-month old and we were both suffering from jet lag and she was waking up every hour the night before the race. Just standing on the starting line felt like an enormous victory. “
—Heather (dreams of running with Joan Benoit Samuelson, “but I’d be nervous I was going to slow for her”)

New Orleans 70.3 triathlon. The finish line was in the French Quarter; plus, the race was flat and at sea-level.”
—Molly (treats herself to Coca-Cola Slurpees from 7-11 after long or hard runs)

Fallen Heroes 10K, which honored and raised money for families of Georgia soldiers that have died in combat. It was humbling and emotional to see the crosses and names of all the soldiers.”
—Jennifer Lundstrum (her first race was a Warrior Dash, “for the thrill of playing in the mud”)

5K Run Through the Lavender Fields in Mona, UT. You run through the Young Living Essential Oils lavender fields when they are in full bloom. The sun is coming up over the mountains in the morning, there is this amazing smell of lavender hanging in the air, and there is every size and shape of person running through the dirt trails of the lavender fields. It was truly a sensory and spiritual run for me.”
—Jerritt (favorite pre-run meal is a banana/chocolate almond milk/peanut butter smoothie and an over easy egg)

San Diego Rock 'n' Roll, because it’s a party. And I love San Diego. And San Diego has the best breweries. What I’m getting at is I run for beer!”
—Lauren (that said, no alcohol the night before a race. “I tried it once and felt sluggish and sloshy the whole time.”)

“The Albany Georgia Snickers Half Marathon. I set my PR of 1:56. I did it for my Dad, a former sub-3 hour marathoner who died of cancer. My family is from Albany and I promise you Dad was with me the entire way.”
—Allyson (quotes Navy Seals to get her through a tough workout. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter. The only easy day was yesterday.”)

“Indianapolis Mini Marathon. 35,000 runners. Lots of bands on route. This year’s cool weather pushed me to a personal best.”
—DeAnn (was most proud of her 2:10 half-marathon PR. “Yeah, it isn’t fast, but I’m getting faster as I get older, which makes me happy.”)

“The ones where there are lots of spectators out cheering you on, or those with crazy folks wearing costumes.”
—Carolyn (entertains herself on long runs by doing math problems in her head. “Hey, I’m just a nerd.”)

Now taking it to you mothers: what's your favorite race?

30 responses to “Train Like a Mother: What’s Your Favorite Race?

  1. I love doing the Turkey Trot every year, but I think my favorite race so far is my first Half Marathon (The Niagara Half) done in the pouring rain for 13.1 miles!

  2. Any trail race with the Aravaipa Desert Trail Running Series and the Flagstaff Summer Trail Running Series!! I love off-road running and the various terrain and elevation challenges each Series offers. The technical hilly single track trails are worth the view at the top, incredible!! Trail runners tend to be the most supportive and offer encouragement along the way.

  3. New Orleans Rock N Roll still holds a special place in my heart. For a charity runner the American Cancer Society has a big contingent and there is an awesome crowd along the entire route. I shall return. 🙂

  4. so far it has to be Running with the Bears in Greenville. only 300ish people, ooodles of support.

    or maybe Run To Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. 28,000ish people. I don’t run, I volunteer. great way to start a day of thanks by remembering those who are less fortunate than us!

  5. I am a sucker for small races – don’t really want to deal with crowds. My current faves are the Run for the Red Marathon in the Poconos and the Athleta Iron Girl Half in Columbia, MD. Girl races are sooooooo empowering!!!

  6. I just posted this to FB since I’m the Holly you quoted (I feel famous, thanks!) and I want to let you know that there were 17 images to choose from, none of which included the name or image of the blog itself. FB grabbed the photo and sponsor images. Not sure how to fix this, but if you want to in all your spare time…

  7. So far, the 8-mile race at the Uwharrie Mountain races here in NC. Beautiful trails and our race day was perfect…cool with just a light drizzle. I paced behind a young 14yo boy who was running it for the 3rd time(!, beating my “stretch” goal of 2 hours by almost 20 minutes! I could’ve kept running, and next year I hope to…I’m going to try to get into the 20-miler!

  8. I’ll go with the half marathon race in the Colorado Marathon. Almost entirely a gentle downhill, weather is usually good at that time of year, and the scenery in the first several miles is splendid. I’ve heard the full marathon is quite a bit better. Oh, and the crowd support is pretty decent given how remote a lot of the race is. I’m doing the Horsetooth Half Marathon this weekend, so we’ll see how that compares.


  9. I got that same hug from Marathon Don after I finished the Grand Rapids Marathon that Robin up there mentioned!

    I think my favorite race is going to be the first one I run after healing from this stress fracture.

  10. The Cherry Pickers’ Trot in Green Bluff, WA. It’s run on a summer night and the whole community gets involved with BBQs, bake sales, crafts and music. You start off chasing a tractor pulling an outhouse through scenic hills and orchards. The shirts are always entertaining as is the pit spit contest. It’s also sentimental because my dad and I would do this race together when I was little.

  11. Some are favorites for different reasons, like my first 5K is a fav for obvious reasons. But the most fun was the Superhero 5K in Cambridge, MA…I just loved the costumes and my Mrs. Incredible shirt. I didn’t like the Recycling hero and her jiggling cans running next to me at the end, but it just made me run faster. Mad props to the lady who ran it in real Wonder Woman boots. And I just ran a quarter marathon in Hartford, CT (my longest race so far), so that is also a favorite for obvious reasons. I’ve also been running all my races with a crew of BRFs which keeps them all special.

  12. I have a tie for my favorite race…it’s between the Sabino Canyon Sunset 7.4 mi Run in Tucson, AZ and the Red Rock Canyon 1/2 marathon in Las Vegas, NV…although they are not the farthest distances for a race that I have run, they are by far the hardest races I have ever run in…the hills were killer, but the scenery made the races so worth it…as did the challenge of them!

  13. Favorite Race — now a tie GR with NWM — because I ran it with my sister in 2011 and it was like a 26.2 mile parade of fun! Thinking I may also be revising my favorite distance…that marathon thing is really growing on me!

  14. The R&R Marathon (half) last year was my favorite so far. It was my first “destination race” and I did it with a small group of girlfriends. We didn’t set any records but we had an awesome time running down the middle of the strip at night!

  15. I have a few for different reasons…

    1. Glad to see the Irongirl Triathlon on here. I’ve LOVED doing that one in Maryland each year. Great vibe, great intro into the sport, great support. (also love they do a pre race practice swim for those jittery about the swim leg).
    2. Love the spirit of the Run to Remember (9/11) in Baltimore too. Never forget. Also, can’t complain about the heat and hills when you run next to fire fighters in full gear and tanks.
    3. Love the party atmosphere of the St. Patty’s Day Run in Baltimore too. Green tutus, green beer, flat course=fun
    4. I get so inspired seeing folks finish the full Ironman race. Have seen my hubby finish IM Wisconsin and IM Arizona. Both are so amazing.

  16. Hands down! My favorite race is the AJC Peachtree Road Race! It’s the largest 10k in the nation, right through downtown Atlanta on 4th of July and it’s so fun!!

  17. My favorite race was the Mountain to Meadow 1/2 marathon. It takes place at the top of Lolo Pass on the MT/ID border. It’s a gorgeous trail race. We had to be on the lookout for moose, although I didn’t see any. We also run through Packer Meadows, a historic site along the Nez Perce and Lewis & Clark Trail. Fanatastic scenery!

  18. I’ve only ran a handful of races, but Kearney, NE puts on a nice half marathon – Buffalo County Stampede. Lovely, flat out-and-back course.

  19. My first trail race will always stand out. It was also my first trail run ever. 5 miles. I had mud up to my knees and nearly lost a shoe in the muck. I’ve never run harder in my life. After a tough year of injuries and underwhelming road races, it was all I needed to feel like a “real” runner again. Winning a pair of shoes pre-race and coming in first in my age group (out of 3) didn’t hurt. 🙂

  20. RnR Half in Las Vegas last year. The race was on my birthday and my sister ran it with me. I’ve always wanted to dress up for a race and she brought me a tutu and a headpiece kind of thing that I proudly wore the whole race, plus one of the official photographers got a great pic of us running. It was a slow time for us, but we had a lot of fun the whole trip! :0

  21. Rock n roll mardi gras half in new Orleans, amazing crowd, great scenery, huge support for American cancer society charity runners.

  22. My favorite to date is a 10 miler held in RI..called the “Blessing of the Fleet”. It is the last friday evening in July so the weather can be brutal but the entire 10 miles is lined with so many people with so much energy. The crowd carries you.

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