Alana and her Dad in 2017 at the Twin Cities 10 Mile, clearly in the running for the best finish line pic ever.
Success as a runner means I am taking care of my mental and physical health in a way that supports giving to myself and others.
The roles I play are many: runner, mother, self, spouse, daughter, friend, business owner, BAMRbassador. Runner is first because being successful in all the other roles requires success as a runner. I do not mean speed or an undying commitment to a plan, although those are important in their time.
Twin Cities 10 Mile
As a runner, there are races that have a certain place in my heart and a hold on my calendar. One of those races is the Twin Cities in Motion 10 Mile (TC10). I have run the TC10 for the past nine years with my dad; running has given us a common passion. I look forward to the entire weekend: the expo, the AMR shake-out runs, the finding of random friends at the start line, and the post-10-mile cheering of the marathoners. The race course is stunning, the crowd enthusiastic, the joy overflowing.
Because of its popularity, the TC10 is a race that requires a lottery. It’s the perfect distance for runners who want more than a 10k and less than a half marathon. Ten miles necessitates a plan but can be pulled off with a strong base and an imperfect training cycle. I had a guaranteed entry for the TC10 this year – the hottest ticket in town. But I didn’t register. Nor did my dad. I know my father and I are running out of shared races (pun intended).
And… I also know this past year “Runner” has slipped pretty far down the list of roles I play. At this point, it comes after napper, water-treader, coffee-drinker, reader and binge-watcher.
If you’re thinking that this list sounds an awful lot like a woman on the edge, you might be right. Life has handed my family a Series of Unfortunate Events (with a multitude of blessings mixed in).
A short list:
- My oldest graduated but missed the last five weeks of high school because she has been seriously ill with a mysterious liver malfunction for going on three months. She turns 18 tomorrow, and we’re hoping for enough energy to make it through her birthday party.
- We have four weeks left with said oldest before she moves across the country to attend college on the west coast. I’ve stuffed all appropriate feelings about her leaving home into a box and set it aside which, oddly, requires a bizarre amount of energy.
- My parents and bestie all got COVID. One case necessitated us hosting our niece who we have not seen for five years (a genuine blessing that required cleaning a 13-year-old’s room to accommodate a guest). The other necessitated keeping an eye on our yellow-eyed almost-adult to ensure she wasn’t infected.
- Meanwhile I’m the only person gainfully employed in my house for the summer (Cute Husband is a professor). It is hard to be the only person who needs to attend meetings while everyone else is playing.
- Two friends were diagnosed with cancer (schedule your colonoscopy, please), a friend’s husband died, and, quite literally while I was writing this, we received the news that a friend’s father died. None of these events have bearing on my day-to-day life. And they all occupy a significant amount of space in my brain and, especially, in my heart, because I am a human with emotions, and I love these people.
I feel like the star of a one-woman show written for a cast of thousands. I.Am.Tired. Gratefully, this time has taught me that I do not have to be all the roles I play at all times. Runner is now an understudy, someone to step in and perform if it is necessary. I have declined to run the TC10 with great peace. I have no regrets at all of not registering*.
Race weekend will still be filled with all of the same joy. My basement currently houses several boxes of new AMR gear to be sold at the expo. I will join AMR meet ups and grab dinner with Mother Runners from out of town. I will make signs and cheer my heart out.
New AMR Merch for the Twin Cities Marathon + 10 Mile…resting (just temporarily) on Alana’s treadmill.
And, in the meantime, I will do what we all do as runners and mothers: put one foot in front of the other, hydrate, send love to my people, and study my lines. Being a member of the ensemble has never been more welcome; I know Runner will find her lead role when the time is right.
*I reserve the right to find a last-minute bib if October feels less heavy.