I never thought I would be a runner but, after having kids and focusing solely on them, I realized that I was neglecting myself and not setting the best example for them. They deserved better, and so did I. I decided to make a dramatic change. I am a busy, working mom of two and did not think I had time for exercise or eating beyond whatever was quick and convenient. But I realized that no one has the time – you have to make the time. So I did.
I am now 65 pounds lighter and training for Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon at Walt Disney World! A great day for me is one that includes a great run. It is very empowering to do something that once seemed impossible.
I am proud of the healthy lifestyle I am modeling for my daughters, and want them to grow up believing that strong is always better than skinny. I run to show them that there will always be someone faster and someone slower, but the real race is against yourself and the goal is to be the best you can be. After watching me race, my daughters wanted to move from spectators to participants – so, on Canada Day, we celebrated our nation’s birthday by running the Limestone Mile together.
They had a blast and now have their own fall racing schedule to look forward to en route to the Kids’ Races at Walt Disney World. I am so excited that we will all be coming home from Disney with medals around our necks. Between holiday runs and destination races, running can become a way to unify your family and create new, healthy traditions. So the next time you are plagued by “mommy guilt” (and believe me, I know it well), remember that by doing something for you, you are doing something for your family too.
I have been surprised by the number of moms who have come to me for advice and tips on learning to run – seeing them lace up and begin their own journeys has been so inspiring! This includes my “sole sister” Alana, who is now racing to Disney with me in a matching tutu and tiara! Like me, she is running to be the best version of herself for her daughters. Together, we keep each other accountable and honest about our training plans. A “BRF” (best running friend) ensures the lonely road is never actually lonely.
The women’s running community is the most supportive, encouraging and welcoming bunch – when you need inspiration, someone is there to provide it. If you have a problem with scheduling your runs or managing your way through injuries, I guarantee you will be able to find someone who has faced that obstacle too. Need advice on the best running gear out there? Trust me, many of us are shopaholics who use running as an excuse to swipe that credit card like no one’s business! There is absolutely no need to “go it alone”. There are so many fitness blogs, facebook groups and local running clubs to take advantage of – do yourself a favour and try it! There is a movement of “mother runners” growing every day, and we’re just proud of each other for finding the time to lace up and hit the pavement.
I truly believe that every woman can find her inner-athlete – and look cute while doing it! I am proud to run like a girl in my hot pink shoes. It makes me a better mom and makes my butt look better in my jeans at the same time – in my book, that’s a win/win.
*this blog was originally written for and published by A Runner’s Story in July 2012.