Run like a mother. That statement may conjure up varying images in your head. Maybe you picture a stroller-bound woman jogging along and singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to her infant. Or maybe you see a haggard-looking lady running away as her children yell after her, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Or maybe you imagine a determined mother glancing down at her watch and picking up the pace in order to beat the school bus home. No matter what you picture, it’s an unfortunate truth that most people don’t naturally put the words “mother” and “runner” together.
This past fall, James Dodds approached me about coaching a pilot session for a mom’s running group at Rogue Cedar Park. Having been a proud Rogue since its inception in 2004, I felt honored but nervous about taking on the challenge. I’d been a marathoner for almost a decade, and had taken a hiatus from formal training groups after my son was born in November 2009. When Rogue Cedar Park began training groups in May, I readily joined back with my running community. Coaching however, was a whole new ballgame. I wasn’t sure I had the skills to motivate runners the way I had been coached and mentored by my Rogue coaches over the years.
Turns out I had it all wrong. I set out on a mission to motivate this group of runners, but along the way the members of the first Rogue Mom’s Mid-Morning Run group have truly inspired me. These ladies set initial goals in October such as “I want to complete a 5K” or “I want to run a mile without stopping” but by the end of the fall it was clear their original expectations were far too low. Along came the winter and they accomplished long runs of over 60 minutes and achieved double digit mileage. And now in the spring, most of them are about to tackle their first half marathon at the Dallas Rock N Roll or Zooma races. But it doesn’t end there. Now that they’ve found their groove, many of these busy mothers are setting goals to increase their speed or even tackle the full marathon next fall.
What I have discovered over the past 5 months is when a group of committed individuals comes together the responsibility for motivation is shared equally. Our Mom’s Mid-Morning Run group has taken on a life of its own and has far exceeded my own initial expectations. We have a Facebook group in which we regularly post articles, funny thoughts and cheer on one another’s accomplishments. We watch over each other’s kids when we’re together. We go to Starbucks to hang out after workouts. We share resources, important running advice and funny experiences. I may be the coach, but the group belongs to all of us.
Sometimes our kids are along for the workout in their jog strollers (or on occasion the older kids run or bike alongside us), but the times we are together aren’t focused on them. That statement may sound selfish, but so often mothers lose their own identity in the focus on kids and the day to day organization of the family. Rogue moms are focusing on making themselves stronger, healthier and more confident women. They see the fruits of their efforts, not only in the race times posted and distances covered, but in proud looks from a spouse as they cross the finish line, or the way a child wants to dress up in running clothes or wear a race number just like mommy.
We run for our families, so we will be healthy and around to enjoy life together for a long time. We run for our children to provide a model of the active adults we hope they will become. We run for our bodies in an attempt to recover from the toll of child-bearing and child-rearing. We run for peace, quiet and a chance to have some time in our own heads. We run for ourselves and the satisfaction we feel from each running accomplishment. We are mother runners and we are Rogue.