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Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Never Run Alone: My Mom, My Encourager

A very late Mother's Day post- but then, shouldn't Mother's Day be every day?

My quality time with my Mom is not measured in time spent, but rather miles run, together. I don't think I could even begin to guess how many miles we have covered over the years.

Sometimes think I was born in a baby jogger, because I spent nearly every morning of my childhood in one. My Mom told me when I was a baby she would talk to me while I rode along on her runs; when I was older I would cheer her and my dad up hills, chanting "I think I can, I think I can" while they pushed me in the baby jogger. My elementary school years were spent pedaling alongside of my Mom on my bike, cheering her on, and complaining on the hills (and wondering why I had to ride on the sidewalk while she got to run on the road). I grew up accompanying my Mom on her runs until I was old enough to stay home in the mornings, and after that only joined her on rare occasions.

But it wasn't until I started training for a half marathon last year that I asked my Mom to run with me. I often use running and training as a metaphor for a lot of things in life; it's such a versatile comparison. And it was during those months training with my Mom that I realized how much running with her was a perfect illustration of our relationship.

Not every run was perfect, not every run was great; far from it. Many were rough, felt like they dragged on forever, and made me wonder why on earth I was doing this. But on every run, there was always one thing I could count on. My Mom encouraging me. Whether is was just general cheering ("Come on, Honey, you're doing great!"), bribery ("I'll make eggs for breakfast", "10 more minutes and you can have a Chomp*"), or simple advice ("Imagine the finish line!", "Shorten your stride and eat the hill") my Mom would keep me going, most of all on the days when I wanted to quit.

I learned a lot from my Mom on our training runs, tricks and sayings that I pass on to my running friends. But most of all, I learned that I never run alone: every time I lace up my shoes and head out the door, my Mom is there in my mind, encouraging me and cheering me on.

Things I’ve learned about running (and life!) from my Mom:

-       -Walking up a hill is a waste of perfectly good hill
-       -You can do anything for 3-minutes (on interval training)
-       - Use your arms
-       - Relax
-       - Eat the hill
-       - Stay strong through the finish
-       - Imagine the finish line
-       - If you say you’re doing great enough times, you’ll believe it
-       - Wear earrings. There’s almost always a photographer on the course.
-       - Take walk breaks, but don’t stop moving forward
-       - Remember to breathe
-       - Once you cross the finish line, no one can take that away from you
-       - Drink a big glass of water and eat a banana
-       - You’ll always feel better after a run
-       - Always untie your shoes before taking them off
-       - Everything is better with a friend by your side
-       - You can run further and faster than you think you can

*My on-the-run nutrition choice

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