By Princess Jodi
February was rough for me. It was dark and grey and cold and awful. It was the shortest month of the year, but felt like the longest by far. Snow upon snow, bitter cold temperatures, and freezing rain on top of the record snowfalls buried my beloved sidewalks and made being outside for more than 5 minutes unbearable. It was treadmill or bust. Now, I might have just chosen “bust”, but for the fact that I have this little race coming up in a few weeks called the Around the Bay 30K. Ahem. When the weather is cold and my mood grows dark, I long for my coping mechanism: running. But Catch 22! I was trapped inside. And running on the ‘mill does not help me meet the need for fresh air and Vitamin D nor does it result in any kind of endorphin high. Leaving me, well, pretty low.
Throughout this long, dark month I looked ahead as best I could. I longed to flip the calendar. Surely, things would look up in March. Surely, Spring would come. Surely, I would get outside to run again. But there was more: a much-needed getaway with a BRF, road trippin’ for some inspiration in the form of reuniting with my Ragnar co-captains, Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell, and celebrating the launch of their new book, Tales from Another Mother Runner. When they let me know they’d be coming to Syracuse on their book tour, I immediately blocked time off work and marked my calendar because I knew I needed it. In a big way. I needed to get remotivated, reinspired, recharged, and recommitted.
After worrying that Mother Nature would snatch this away from me with more foul weather, the day finally arrived and it was beautiful, sunny and clear. It was even above zero degrees. In fact, if I hadn’t been on my way to go talk about running with running friends, it would have been a perfect day to lace up and go for a run outside (whoa, the novelty). I took it as a sign: clear skies ahead. No more gloom and doom. Shaking off the Eeyore cloud above me, I packed my bag and hit the road for my 3 hour trek south of the border.
I checked into our hotel where Princess Laural was patiently waiting – and so it began. Non-stop chatter and catching up. Sighs of relief. Lots of laughter. And soon enough, it was time to go meet Sarah and Dimity to help them set up for the party. We were free labour to be used at their will. All we asked in return was to bask in their awesomeness and soak up some of their badassery.
And it was perfect. We had enough time pre-party to catch up and trade stories and, of course, get our hands on the new book. Flipping through the crisp pages with excitement, we were thrilled to see our names jump out at us in the form of quotes within the book. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of the New Kids on the Block listing me as their number one fan in their album. Kind of like this: This album is dedicated to our amazing fans everywhere, but most especially to Jodi who we’ll be loving forever. Well, fast forward 20 years, and being a tiny part of this book is the equivalent. (Not that I want to marry Sarah or Dimity, but I do kind of want to be them when I grow up.)
Soon enough, mother runners were everywhere and it was time for their talk and readings from the book. I love this part. Any time we get to hear them speak, we have our trademark “teacher’s pet” seats all picked out: front and centre. I am sure they expect no less by now!
So what exactly happens at Another Mother Runner parties? A room full of mother runners. Sharing stories about running. Laughing, relating, commiserating, bonding. Listening to parts of the book. Shopping. Drinking wine. There are sweet give-aways too, like the ones Laural and I came away with. (Thank you, Saucony! Way to help us find our strong, when we really needed to find it.)
We were the last ones at the party, shutting down the place as we did the last time. More time to talk, really talk, with Dimity, in particular. To share, to laugh, to cry a bit, to hug it out. It was so good for the soul.
And then it was time for some Cheesecake Factory and more chatter and laughter with Laural. We truly are the best medicine for each other. When we got back to the hotel, we were like kids on Christmas morning, tearing into the book, drinking up the words fast and furious and then, finally, giving in to sleep.
The next day, we luxuriated over a long brunch, and shopped ’til we dropped. We even found a Castle, drawn as we were to the Disney Store like moths to a flame. (Yes, we did in fact run through the Castle – not exactly the same experience as it was at the Princess Half-Marathon, but beggars cannot be choosers!)
As quickly as it started, it was over and I was on my way home. Again, it was sunny skies. My mood was lighter. My heart was happier. And I returned home ready to run, not because I had another slog of a workout on my training plan, but because I remembered something I had forgotten: I love to run. I love the people running has brought into my life. I love how running makes me feel.
Tales from Another Mother Runner is organized, very thoughtfully, into sections. Laural is quoted in the section on Joy. I am quoted (twice!) in the section on Persistance. To me, this represents so much.
Persistance and joy: two critical pieces in the arsenal of a runner. Without one, the other is not enough. Together, they can result in beautiful, impossible things becoming absolutely possible. Be persistant. Find your joy. Even if it means driving for 3 hours on a Tuesday to do it. And once you’ve found it…run.
The Tales from Another Mother Runner Book Tour is now hitting select cities across the country! Check here to see if they are making a stop near you. #TAMRtour