A strong cup of coffee and a good dose of Jesus. These are the keys to starting my days off on the right foot. Caffeinated and graced up. Neither guarantee an easy day, but at least I know I’m fueled up spiritually and mentally for whatever lies ahead.This momma runs on coffee and Jesus. #MotherRunner Click To Tweet
While I am more than capable of taking care of my spiritual and mental needs, I have often neglected the other side of the house. Like many moms, my physical well-being at some point (consciously, or otherwise) was marked “optional”. Focusing on my physical health regularly feels more like a suggestion than a necessity.
I could spend days talking about the importance of modeling a healthy and active lifestyle for my girls. And, I could share all the statistics about the benefits of sports as it relates to self-confidence and mental health. It’s hard not to know all the things.
But let’s be honest, my number one reason for exercising and being more active has less to do with building my girls’ self-confidence and more to do with burning off both the stress of my day and the more-than-a-few too many calories I tend to consume. My decision to get out there and run (my activity of choice) has more to do with feeling comfortable in my own skin, liking more the way I look naked (let’s be honest, I’m not the only one), and feeling like a bad mother runner as I drive around with that 13.1 magnet on the back of my minivan.
Running makes me feel strong and reminds me that I am capable of more. It shows that I am able to push myself beyond my comfort point, and that I am the kind of woman who is not put off or discouraged by hard things.
The Athena Mother Runner
If you’ve not met me in real life, go ahead and scope out my Facebook or Instagram feed. Then feel free to dismiss any image you had of what a “real runner” looks like. I’m not offended, I know for certain that I don’t meet those runner stereo types.
For years I had my own thoughts about who runners were. In my mind, mother runners wore those breezy, barely there, cute, and swift looking running shorts. (They didn’t wear capris because there was no mid-thigh chub rub to prevent.) I believed their perfect abs were unmarked from pregnancy and bare to the world because real mother runners just wore sports bras. Their pony tail bouncing high on the back of their head; it was the only thing moving with each stride, their perfect t-rex hands were undistracted by fleshy arms swinging with each step.
A recent story on verywellfit breaks down the different categories of runners like this:
Masters Runners Division in Road Racing
In road racing, the Masters Division is for runners who are over a certain age. Usually, the age is 40, but it can vary from place to place. The Masters Track and Field Committee of USA Track and Field (USTAF) requires that masters athletes be “at least 40 years old on the first day of the meet.”. . .
In road racing, the Clydesdale division is a division for heavyweight male runners. The weight minimum for Clydesdales is 200 pounds, although it can vary from race to race. The idea behind this grouping, like the Athena Divison (see below), is to divide race participants into categories so they’re competing against other athletes with similar physical qualities to them (similar to the age/gender groups that most races use).
Not all races have Clydesdale divisions but, if they do, they’ll usually mention it on the race application. Some races may have given awards for the top three finishers in the Clydesdale division.Athena DivisionSimilar to the Clydesdale Division, the Athena division is for heavyweight female runners. The weight minimum for Clydesdales is usually 150 pounds, although it can vary from race to race. Not all races have Athena divisions but, if they do, they’ll usually mention it on the race application. Some races may have given awards for the top three finishers in the Athena division.
According to those guidelines, I’m a Master Athena — all I had to do was age and stress eat to check those boxes!
Momma, the point is, that far too many of us count the steps we take while doing housework as our main source of activity for the day. Meanwhile, our kids are chasing us literally and figuratively, and we couldn’t escape them for even a few minutes if our lives depended on it.
Truth be told, Jesus and coffee will only take me so far.
I have to move.
I’ve got a responsibility to myself, my God, and my family to keep this engine running. At a minimum, to ensure I can outrun (or chase down) my kids should the occasion demand.
Rest easy, I’m not asking for a commitment here. I don’t expect a few regular runner pictures to convince you to register for your first 5k this morning.
Just think about it.
Think about what it would mean to go out for a 5k (3.1 mile) run. Listen, just think about what it would feel like (I don’t sweat I sparkle) and how you would feel about yourself afterward (exhilarated, proud as a peacock, a bad mamma jamma).
Periodically, between now and February of 2019, I will be chronicling my training for the Disney World Princess Half-Marathon I recently registered for. It will be my second half marathon. (The first was almost four years ago, a challenge to myself before my 40th birthday. Some people take exotic trips – I did a 12 mile long run in the summer.)
In the coming months, I’ll share my successes as well as my failures and in the meantime, hopefully encourage you to join me in my endeavor to run with me some measure of the 13.1 miles I am training for.
If running is ever something you’ve considered, I want to share with you a few of the women that welcomed me into the community of running. Believe it or not, we’ve never met in-person but I’ve been following them for almost 10 years.
I absolutely LOVE the ladies and community of Another Mother Runner. The founders, Dimity and Sarah, are two mother runners who have written three amazing books on all things running – the first drew me into their fold. I know they’re great, because I own and have read all three. Dimity and Sarah also have an excellent podcast, host dream worthy retreats, and have built a community for women runners (of all levels and abilities) like none you could imagine
They were my first encouragers (from afar) into the world of running and I have consulted their collective awesomeness on everything from jogging strollers to sports bras. And, if you at all question whether or not these ladies really know the struggle that can be this mom life you just need to check out their amazing online shop because their tees say it all. I’ve included a picture of one of my personal favorites.
Are you a mother runner?
Have you ever completed a 5k, half marathon or even dreamed of doing so?
If I’ve convinced you at all to stick your toe in the pond of running, let me offer another suggestion, because sometimes reading about running isn’t enough motivation. Check out your local running store – just do a quick google search and I am certain you will find one within proximity. That was my next step. In the greater Lansing area we have Playmakers – a well known and beloved running store. Not only can you find the best gear there, they also offer amazing clinics on good form for walking and running, and also offer a free weekly running clinic staff by medical experts from all areas.
It was at Playmakers that I found another amazing community of women runners when I joined their Women’s Training Team. In many of the pictures I shared above, I was wearing my red Team P shirt. Over the years, I have made amazing friends through Team P. With their encouragement and the help of the coaches, I’ve achieved goals I never thought possible.
Are you concerned you won’t be able to outrun or chase down your kids? I’d love to hear more about your running fears, dreams, and goals. Won’t you share below? And, if you have done the Disney Princess Half Marathon I would love to hear about your experience and what princess you ran as.