Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday Thought

Today we have guests for Thursday Thought! I invited the creators of the excellent book Run Like A Mother to drop by and share with us more about the book. This book was recommended to me back when I wrote the post about how I started running. My friend read the post and wrote me privately to tell me I had to check this book out. Once I saw what it was, I wanted to tell you guys about it. I asked the authors to share more with us. They graciously agreed and Sarah Bowen Shea is here today!

Sarah, thanks so much for talking with me today. I appreciate you stopping by my blog to share about the realities of being a running mom. Can you tell me a bit about yourselves?

We're both freelance magazine writers who contribute to a variety of publications, including Runner's World, SELF, Women's Health, the New York Times, and Health. Dimity has two children, and I have three, including boy-girl twins who just started kindergarten. We've known each other since Dimity was in college, about 20 years. (Yikes!)

Where did you get the idea to write a book for moms who run-- or want to?

Run Like a Mother sprung out of our shared experience training for and running the 2007 Nike Women's Marathon. We wrote about it for Runner's World and for On the website, we discovered a vibrant, enthusiastic community of women runners that no book was talking to--so we decided to write one! Run Like a Mother (we loving call it RLAM, pron. "Ruh-lamb") isn't dry and clinical like other running books, and it doesn't have training plans because we figure women can get those online or in magazines (heck, maybe even ones written by us!). Instead, it's 26 honest, witty, straight-talking, slightly irreverent essays sprinkled with advice from more than 150 mom-runners nationwide.

What's been the most surprising part of doing this book?

That women runners are responding to it in such a positive, visceral way. Countless times, women have written comments on our blog ( or Facebook fan page (Run Like a Mother: The Book) along the lines of, "your book says exactly the same things I think while I run!" or, "How did you gals get inside my head so perfectly?" We wanted RLAM to speak to women like no other book does, and the response tells us we nailed it. It's very gratifying.

Describe how each of you fits running into your life.

We both set our respective alarm clocks earlier than we'd like, and run before the rest of our family members wake up, usually. Sure, it isn't a ton of fun to wake up early, but otherwise life intrudes too much. Also, we thrive on the post-run feeling that allows us to tackle our day with more patience and energy--and a smidge of pride. When I train for a marathon, my hubby is on the hook for taking care of the kids during the one long weekend run. It's getting easier--and less stress-causing--as the kids get older and less demanding.

Yes, to moms of young kids I will second that-- it does get easier and less stressful to run as they get older. This too shall pass. Why do you think being a running mom is important for our kids?

It's an amazing role model. It shows the kids that it takes work and determination to meet a goal--you just can't snap your fingers and run a half-marathon, just like you can't just blink your eyes and have your homework done or a soccer goal scored. It also shifts the male-female paradigm that sometimes still reigns in the U.S. Our generation of kids think it's the norm for mom to walk in the back door sweaty, which is cool.

This summer my daughter would meet me at the door with water and fan me with a magazine. So sweet!
What would you say to a mom who says "I am not a runner"?

Every woman needs to find what works for her. Something she's passionate about and that helps her mind and body. If that's running, great. But if her knees are wrecked from skiing, then maybe she's a swimmer or cyclist. Or she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Or sweats it out at the gym or yoga studio. Maybe this is heresy, but we think moms need to make themselves a priority several times a week, if not daily, and get out and do something for themselves. It makes them better moms and more empowered women.

I don't think it's heresy at all. I think that a mom who is devoting herself to some form of exercise is doing something, yes, for herself. But she is also investing in her future health and that benefits her family too!
What does music have to do with it?

I swear by running to music. It alleviates boredom on long runs, helps me chill on easy runs, and fires me up in races. Plus, being a work-at-home mom, there isn't much time in my life to listen to my own music without interruptions. Sometimes the mere thought of listening to the new Glee soundtrack is enough to get me fired up for five miles.

Ha! That's happened to me as well. I can't wait to get out there and run so I can listen to MY music!!
What are a running mom's secret weapons?

Sex. As in, placate the hubby and relax. Ha, ha: Only half-kidding.
A running mom's secret weapon is a great running buddy. It can be hard to have a fulfilling, vibrant social life as a busy mom, so it's awesome to get to have uninterrupted talk-time while also exercising. I mean, you'd never meet a friend for COFFEE at 5:30 a.m. It's a delight to walk in the backdoor at 7:03 a.m. having sweated for an hour and had a lively, heartfelt conversation.

Thanks guys for sharing some tips and inspiring us to get running! Keep up the good work!
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1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I admire Sarah for being able to juggle so much! I have thought about making the effort to run, but so far, I have only been managing a fast walk. I am going to have to learn to push myself, and this post was great encouragement! Thanks!