Why I Run: Amanda Thompson

Amanda, rocking and rolling through Vegas. And wearing the sunglasses she accidentally sat on recently.

Although I--Dimity--have only run with Amanda Thompson, a Denverite and mother of two, once, it was one of the best runs of my life. We chatted for miles and connected on many levels. She doesn't have a blog. Yet. Encourage to get going on one, would you?

When I first read Dimity’s email asking if I’d write a guest post about why I run, I ignored it 37 times before collapsing into bed. I write professionally, but, as an attorney, the subject matter revolves safely around employment contracts and legal arguments. Dimity knows I dream of writing non-legal material, but my insecurities are safer buried in the dream, put at the end of the to-do list, and otherwise addressed after I clean the grime out of the underside of the kitchen sink and organize my drawer of spandex. I relegate my non-legal writing to personal email correspondence, overly developed preschool applications, and Wednesday comments posted in the hopes of winning free running gear.

The thought of someone outside of a preschool reading my words terrifies me to the point I want to run (away), but I got that email at night and I run in the morning. So that wasn’t an option. My mind was manic and anxious spewing the most astounding, genius, witty ideas that I thankfully will never remember. I shut my brain down with a heavy dose of Lunesta and let the freaky, drug-assisted dreams take over. I spent that night vividly sprinting hurdles in glass cleats trying to catch a buff, post-werewolf-birth Tina Fey. My mind didn’t relent until my Garmin beeped a mile into my run the next morning.

During the run, like all of my runs, there’s no second-guessing, no fear, and no insecurity. Four miles of fear suppression and a pep talk from Eminem later, I emailed Dimity to say I’d write ... something.

I stopped working to stay at home with the kids when my husband’s travel schedule forced him to sleep soundly out of town most of the week. Leaving work and every sense of how I had defined myself (as an attorney, an achiever, and a person who wore clean clothes) left me in a deep, dark place with only the company of a toddler and an infant. While I enjoyed the games of dead princess and rocket pirate ship, for the first time in my life, I had no measurable goals and no sense of purpose outside of surviving the daily routine. I needed a goal that was challenging, but obtainable, and something I could do wearing spandex with my kids in tow.

I started to run.

I pushed the BOB dualie at a blistering 13-minute pace for 30 seconds, and then I walked for 30 seconds. I talked to Jesus, my dead grandmother, Tina Fey, and the voices in my head. But, for the first time in years, I did not talk to my kids. My 3-year-old accepted that and settled in for previously unattainable quiet time. Because I was not answering relentless questions about rocket fuel and distance between planets, I could hear myself think. The 30-second walk breaks gradually disappeared, and I started building mileage and craving those runs. After two years sequestered from adult interaction, I ditched the BOB and joined a running group. I met those ladies on weekend mornings to socialize and run. As they all out-paced me, I was left with a great view and silence in which to have real, deep, important thoughts.

At some point during my runs, true magic happened. And, that’s why I lace those Sauconys at 5:30 a.m. regardless of the temperature, regardless of how much is going on in our lives, how little sleep I got, or how much I need to be finalizing a document. I am not sure if it’s physiological, psychological, or photochemical, but in engaging in the process of running, I somehow chased my former self back into my life.

Running returned to me the practice of goal setting and gave me time to be alone with those real, deep, important thoughts. With each additional mile, those thoughts formulated into ideas. I should run a marathon and go on a girls’ weekend and buy some whoopee cushions. The ideas led to plans. A girls’ weekend for the Vegas marathon and the purchase of whoopee cushions in bulk. The plans ultimately turned into realities. The Las Vegas 2010 Marathon Girls’ Weekend and Starbucks April Fool’s Day 2011 Project Whoopee Cushion.

I returned to work on a part-time basis, and, after three half-marathons and a full, I finally came to terms with the fact that I also like to write sentences that don’t involve burden shifting or damages. Now that I’ve discovered that, I’ve got to concoct The Ultimate Plan For the Rest of My Life. It’s in the works. I just need a few more runs to figure it out.



51 responses to “Why I Run: Amanda Thompson

  1. Amanda, it sounds like you enjoy the thrill of law, mothering and running. I live close to Tabb High School and would love a chance to talk to you and your adventures. Hope to hear from you.

  2. If you enjoyed this you should meet Amanda in person. I drove 600 miles to hang out with her(and 100 other people from tabb high). She talked so much about mother runner at our reunion i thought it was a paid endorsement. Her nickname is El Capitan because everyone follows her lead.

  3. I am also a part-time attorney, mom, and runner – really enjoyed reading your post. I’m also in the “concoct The Ultimate Plan For the Rest of My Life” stage. Here’s to running opening our minds to the possibilities.

  4. So easy for a career-woman-turned-SAHM’s self worth to become a bit lost in diapers and dirty dishes. It happened to me, but I am inspired. Would love to read more from you!

  5. Yessssss. Switch out employment law for criminal defense, and I am right there with you. Not only does my running give me the only moments of silence in my days, but it gives me an hour or so of freedom from worry about my son, my clients, my bank account, or my messy house. Air + the wind of my own making + birds is the equation for tranquility that eluded me for nearly 35 years. That, and Eminem. Requisite.

    Now, go get a blog!

  6. For the love of God, start a blog already! Your writing is hysterical! I can relate, too, as a mom of a toddler and a 5 month old. Fantastic post – so glad you decided to write it!

  7. Wow! Your post made my cry…. It’s like I am reading the story of my life… Except I would never would be able to get up at 5 am to run. I am a lunch time runner… I am a solo runner but now you have given me the desire to reach out my solo runner shell and seek for my meant to be sole sisters in southeast Connecticut.

    Pleeeeease…. Get yourself a blog

  8. Wow – I loved this. Honestly, nearly every detail of this matches my life. I can relate to it perfectly (well, except I didn’t make it to law school…yet). Thanks! I loved reading it.

  9. I started running after I passed the bar last year. I needed a new challenge and this one seems so much harder for me, but soooooo empowering!!! Great to meet another attorney runner!

  10. I too have been a SAHM and am also a part-time attorney (employment law). I know just what you mean. About all of it. Good stuff!

  11. Wonderful, Wonderful post. I love this so much: “I needed a goal that was challenging, but obtainable, and something I could do wearing spandex with my kids in tow.”

  12. the only thing missing was dog poop and pickle jars. i’m lucky enough to call Amanda a friend (and thankful that she’s still my friend after our night together in Vegas). Amanda – we love you – START A BLOG – or write a book – the world is a better and funnier place with your stories.

  13. I’m loving this “Why I Run” series. I am currently in the trenches in, dodging the all powerful grenade that is “Hey Mommy, guess what?” praying for solace of some sort. Which is a large reason I turned to running. Call it my AWOL stints, but it’s the best battle training I have found thus far.

  14. I can really relate to your story and your journey. The talk about running bringing goal setting back into the life of a SAHM had me nodding my head in agreement. Thank you!!!

  15. Your post was eloquent and so thoughtul. I run for the same reasons! Please start sharing your thoughts with us on a regular basis!

  16. You are all lucky to enjoy the inner thoughts of this genius, as they come out. I am one of the “ladies” and I use the term loosely that ran with Amanda. I will say, running is lucky to have her, as is her hubby, kids, law firm and anyone she calls friend. She encourages everyone. I still don’t think of myself as a runner, even though I am training for a 3rd 1/2 marathon, but I agree that when I run, I feel most like the self I would like to be all the time. Amanda is amazing!

  17. Love it! I am a mother-running-attorney, too. though I deal with criminals and not contracts, I finally feel like someone gets me!!! Please keep writing. 🙂

  18. This was a really good post, Amanda. I know where you’re coming from on the writing–I used to write/edit for a living (newspaper journalism–ugh) and it didn’t satisfy. Blogging about running is good, because it’s bite-sized chunks that fit the time you have and the subject matter is endless. I think you would like it, and I would certainly be a reader. Good luck!

  19. I love this tribe! There is nothing better than an early morning run, downloading my Garmin, and having a protein shake while I read a running blog! You Got it Girl! Keep up the good work! Hey, just wondering…….did I miss who won the “Hump Day Giveaway” last week?? lol Love Wednesdays as well……it makes me think about my life for a moment and jot it down for the possibility to win something fun! 😉

  20. So well said. The quiet and peaceful moments that a child will allow when being pushed in a jogging stroller are sometimes the only parts of the day when I can actually gather my own thoughts. And when I run alone and the endorphins really kick in… that’s when I formulate plans for my day, my week, my life that at other moments during the busy day just seem all too overwhelming to even consider. I, too, need a at least a few more solo runs to develop “The Ultimate Plan for the Rest of My Life.” Love it!!!

  21. I am glad to know that all of those voices I hear while running with you are actually the voices in YOUR head, not mine. Love.Love.Love the post, keep it up.

    I need to talk a little more with you about the real deep important things…how about 6 am on Friday?

  22. That was great! You have such a way with words that you really should be writing a blog – please! I’m sure AMR would let us all know when you start one! 🙂

  23. Boy did I need something like this – this morning! As I sit here nurturing a second cup of coffee after a long sleepless night worrying over family all while the nasty voices in my head chid me for not running in a week – I know now that my running shoes will be slipped into my bag for a quick run after work and hopefully a bit of sanity. Thank you!

  24. While I have never been a SAH mom, nor an attorney :-), still I could completely relate to the tenor and tone of your post. The rhythm of your words just felt ‘right’ somehow. BTW – do you happen to work at Holland & Hart? I have a long-time (read, since childhood) friend who is in employment law there.

    1. “Tenor and tone” and “rhythm of words” are fun words to read! H&H’s a fine firm, but I’m at another fine firm.

  25. i so enjoyed and relate to this “why i run”. i think its my favorite, and i expect i will read it again when i a worn out from talking only to 4 little people under the age of 3.

  26. Amen! You have summed up EXACTLY why I turned to running. To find myself. Please listen to Dimity and start your own blog. Your post speaks to me and other stay at home moms!!
    Keep on running!!!

  27. I am fortunate…Amanda is a friend if mine. She’s always been witty, thoughtful, inquisitive, daring and inspiring. I look forward to reading more, Amanda! Sometimes, the only way I can rise for those early morning runs is by summoning my inner-Amanda. 🙂

  28. Amanda, I really enjoy reading your sentences. I do hope you write more for public consumption. Best wishes on your Ultimate Plan!

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