Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Latest Inspiration

112 Days To Go
I've talked many times before about my son being my primary inspiration for striving to complete November's half-marathon. And it is true, he is. I want him to be able to look back and realize I was able to be a strong, healthy, be-all-she-can-be woman who reaches for big goals, as well as a nurturing mother. I think that if he realizes this, he will also strive for his dreams and work hard to achieve them. However, moving forward in this journey I have also picked up other bits of inspiration along the way that have helped me keep up the motivation to stumble out of bed each morning and fall directly into my sneakers, despite sore muscles and excruciating heat. It's this network of other runners, particularly mother runners, that I have found serve as an alliance to help fuel my spirit as I move closer to my goal. From seasoned marathon vets who can tear up a 5k in 21 minutes, to the mother who is lacing up her first pair of running shoes in hopes of finishing a 5k on no particular date, but someday, that each provide encouragement and support to their fellow mother runners. Each make it seem possible. Each make it seem relevant. They understand the balance, desire, and often struggle that it requires to continuously nourish this ambition - to be a runner...and a mother.
I know you must all want to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" by the campfire now, right? Here's the point I was leading up to. My latest inspiration has been this book I recently stumbled across, Run Like A Mother. Now, I'm a college instructor and mother to an 8 1/2 month old - so leisurely reading most often consists of a marketing textbook that I'm using as a refresher for an upcoming class I'm teaching or an instruction manual on how to install child safety locks on my cabinet doors. However, this book has served as my retrieve from necessity reading and turned into my fuel that I use each night to recharge. I read a chapter each night. It's an easy read written by two runners who have numerous marathons under their belt (don't worry, they don't take themselves too serious which can be such an intimidation to us novice-ites). They are relatable and share their story as beginning runners to advanced marathon vets. They actually look to other mother runners, the wanna-bes (like me) to the seasoned experts, who offer advice ranging from what sports bras are best to picking your best running distance, all in a light, conversational, and humorous approach. I truly appreciate the laugh-out-loud candor from the authors and contributing mothers that make this read relatable. I have always said, if you can't laugh at yourself, well, then your likely missing out on some pretty big laughs.
It's for this reason, I decided to represent my latest inspiration at the 5k I attended today (despite the heat advisory with 100+ heat index temps). I was sans a babysitter so I decided to push my jogging stroller with pride and sport my motto (see below). I ran the entire race (not without a roaring internal battle with the non-runner in me that still maintains 75% of my being) and actually got quite a kick as I approached the finish line, battered and exhausted, and heard a man yell, " Go, Mother!" I wish I had the strength to turn my head and find his face - but I didn't. But I finished.

Highlight of the Week: Knocking another 5k out and successfully completing my first week of the new Hal Higdon training program (well, tomorrow I complete the week).

Lesson of the Week: I had to think hard about what to share for this week but I think I am going to go with remembering to appreciate all of the strong women in my life - both new and old. Also, the beauty of knowing that empowering others leaves you with no less power (an Eleanor Roosevelt quote, I believe).

Power Song of the Week: Live Your Life by T.I. and featuring Rhianna. Great beat and great live your life for you message. Good running song!


Sarah Bowen Shea said...

Way to knock out the 5K, Andrea! Thanks so much for the kind praise of RLAM. It pleases Dim and me to no end that readers feel the book accomplished exactly what we were trying to do. Thank you.

Keep up the good work--and stay cool. 100+--woo-eeee, that's scorching!

Julie said...

That is awesome--- getting out there and running that 5K in the heat and WITH a stroller!! Wow. Keep it up. look forward to reading your half marathon journey!

Andrea Leigh said...

Thanks, Sarah! Yes, you and Dimity have proven to be a great inspiration to many women - the book is phenomenal! The heat is quite a challenge and I must say as a Florida girl, I have never looked so forward to the fall as I have this season as a "runner."

Julie! Thanks for the kudos. I really appreciate the support. Thanks for reading about my little journey. : )

Amy said...

Good job on your 5K! You're lucky - I keep trying to talk one of my boys into running with me and so far, it's only worked once. Those running stollers are a great invention!

Andrea Leigh said...

Hi Amy! I am lucky my little one isn't talking yet because I am feeling that he is getting a little resistant some mornings when I strap him in. He's usually fine once we start moving but I know I better appreciate his company while I can...before he flat out refuses to run with mommy. : ) How old are your boys?