Why I Run: Chandra LaFrentz

At the Missoula Marathon finish line, July 2012.
At the Missoula Marathon finish line, July 2012.

In January 2009, four weeks after giving birth (via c-section) to my first daughter, my family of three (plus a dog) moved from our bustling life in central California to a 12-acre farm in north-central Montana (where our closest neighbor is over a mile away).

At the Spartan Spring in Calgary, AB, July 2012.
At the Spartan Spring in Calgary, AB, July 2012.

Fast forward two years to 2011: I have just had a second c-section for my second daughter. I had also become quite isolated (and to be completely honest, a little bitter), living without neighbors and working from home with only my kids and nanny to talk to during the day. Beyond my husband and kids, the rest of my human interaction is electronic and comes in the form of social media to keep up with family/friends and phone calls/emails from clients. I found myself drowning in what I like to call “me-lessness.” I wasn’t me anymore. I was a wife. A mother. An employee. A housekeeper. A cook. A nurse. But I wasn’t “me” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love being all of those things and living where I live – but I also need to be ME and I had become everything BUT me.

Days before being cleared by my doctor to exercise after the second c-section, my best friend ran her first half-marathon in Dallas, TX. I was so proud of her accomplishment. Her drive to train and finish inspired me to give running a try. At first it was just to lose the weight I had gained through two pregnancies. I could barely call it running (it was more of a bouncy walk) and it felt like my uterus was going to fall out. But I kept at it. I watched my pace improve, my body tone up, and my weight drop. Running was slowly changing from a means to an end (weight loss) to an outlet and an opportunity to be “just me” for a few minutes. To take off the multitude of hats I always wear and be “just me.” To re-learn who I am and how to be proud of something that I’ve accomplished (other than successfully get spit-up out of every piece of clothing I own).

A year after starting my running journey, I now know who I am (and continually learning more about myself). Because of those few minutes (or hours) that I spend with myself each day, I can be a better wife, mother, employee, housekeeper, cook, and nurse.  AND, I’ve learned how to be me at the same time. In that year, I finished my several 5Ks, my first 10K, and first half-marathon. I’ve logged more miles than I ever dreamed (I was the band geek, not the athlete).

It is now January 2013. I completed my first marathon in July of 2012 (the Missoula Marathon). I finished in 5:05:34. It was 5 minutes and 34 seconds slower than my goal, but I'm OK with that. I worked harder than I thought possible. I learned more than I thought possible. I found more of "me" in those miles than I ever new existed.

My family.
My family.

After the race, I took some time off for my body to recover. I raised funds and rode in a 50-mile bike ride for the Special Olympics--my longest ride so far. I completed the Spartan Sprint in Calgary, AB. I embraced cross-training and completed the BeachBody Insanity program. Currently I'm running again and working on base miles. I closed 2012 with 710 miles (60 miles more than my goal and 200 miles more than 2011). Training for my second marathon will begin the first week of February. I'll be running the Calgary Marathon this year and my goal is to break the 5:00 barrier. I've changed my training and spent more time cross-training and strength training than I ever have. And I'm confident -- I've done it before and I can do it again! But more than that, I'm looking forward to continuing to uncover new pieces of "me" as I run. That's the amazing thing about running -- I never seem to run out of things to discover! 2013 is going to be great and I look forward to finding new pieces of me with every step!

Why do I run?  I run to be me.  I run because I am a runner.

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16 responses to “Why I Run: Chandra LaFrentz

  1. Hey there, Our stories sound similar! We moved to the middle of nowhere Montana almost 5 years ago! I never realized until the move how social my working out was. Since the move I quit working out. Now am starting back I also did the Missoula marathon last year. NWould love to find out where you are maybe we can support each other!

        1. I am contemplating he Missoula Half but just got back into running after 2 kids. I also live in NW Montana? Thanks for the inspiration !

    1. Hi Mars,

      Let me explain – I work full time from home and that prevents me from watching my girls full time. So I have a nanny that comes to the house to watch them. It lets me be a pseudo-stay-at-home mom. 😉

  2. So proud of you Chandra! I remember meeting you when I was volunteering at a race and I recognized your name from all your posts on this site. You have accomplished so much- and I know you can reach your goals!

  3. Love your story. It really hit home. Had my second three months ago and after my third up to nurse him in the night I sat there and thought, I might no longer care how tired I am or how cold it is outside, I need to go for a run to start refilling my ‘me tank’. Now I’m inspired!

  4. Way to go! Way to take time for yourself and make yourself. You’ve accomplished so much in such a short time! Thanks for sharing your story.

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