I will be the first to tell you that running doth not a skier make.
I learned this the hard way one autumn, when preferring running to biking and running to weights, I did nothing but run. Come winter, while my legs were in great shape for running, they were not ready for skiing.
Since then I’ve become smarter, incorporating other training and exercise into my year-round routine. But running is still my cornerstone.
And while it may not be good for skiing, it’s fantastic for all else that ails me.
Tales From Another Mother Runner
If you’re a runner, you already know that running is good for your body and your mind.
I don’t know if it’s the repetitive motion and breathing, or maybe it’s just the endorphins, but for achieving peace of mind and clarity, nothing works for me like running. As one of my friends says, “it’s totally Zen.”
So when asked to review Tales From Another Mother Runner, an anthology of “triumphs, trials, tips and tricks from the road,” edited by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, I was all in.
McDowell and Shea are competitive runners. They power through marathons and one of them even admits to peeing on the fly in order to keep on pace. Founders of the website anothermotherrunner.com, and contributors to Runner’s World, they’ve written two running guides for women, Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother.
They’ve even coined a name for themselves and their kind: Badass Mother Runners.
While I’ve never met either of them, based on that name alone, I know I’d like them.
Plus, since I’m always open to tricks and tips, I couldn’t wait to delve into this book. Before I even touched it’s cover, I was anticipating the connections I’d make with these like-minded women.
Unfortunately, by the time I received the book, I was no longer running.
Broken Arms and Busted Plans
It turns out to be pretty painful to read about someone doing something you love when you can’t do that something.
I broke my arm this spring and for eight weeks I was not allowed to run. Instead, I walked. I logged hours on elliptical machines and stair climbers at the gym. I lifted with one arm and did tons of squats and other exercises to keep my knees and hips strong.
Yet, none of these things replaced running or it’s endorphins.
And, every time I’d open Tales From Another Mother Runner, I feel both sad and annoyed.
The book is divided into topical sections, the first being Ownership: You are a Runner. This section includes three offerings from women sharing their insecurities about being athletes, mothers and runners, what with imperfect bodies, ability and lives.
Rereading these essays, I see that they speak to beating back the demons of insecurity that pursue us, no matter how fast we’re running or walking or trying to make it through each day.
But back in April, they were just annoying.
“You’re complaining about being called a jogger, instead of a runner?” I’d think to myself.
“Try eight weeks of riding the couch and watching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix. You’ve got no complaints!” (Apologies to Freaks and Geeks – watching it was one of the better parts of my spring).
Back on the Trail
On July 29th, I ran three miles without stopping for the first time since early June when I had cancer surgery.
My time was terrible, way off my regular pace. But, I had completed THREE.MILES.WITHOUT.STOPPING.
With this accomplishment, I was ready to start reading about running. And once I reopened Tales From Another Mother Runner, I’ve hardly put it down.
As you might guess, motherhood, with all of its joys, inconveniences, annoyances and manifest miracles, plays a role in each of the essays.
Like many of us, some of these women returned to, or began running, in response to becoming mothers. They wanted to lose weight and get in shape, and in running they found a time-efficient, sanity-saving escape and a way to recapture a sense of accomplishment.
Running has also helped many of these women cope with the hills and valleys of each day. It’s seen them through illness and divorce, disappointment and depression. It’s helped some of them get out of bed each morning.
Running has helped them forge friendships with other women and strengthen the bonds of matrimony and family.
And it helps them make sense of life.
While Kristin Armstrong astutely explores the difference between happiness and joy in one essay, Nicole Knepper wisely notes that while life is often unfair, running is where everything makes sense.
At it’s very best, running can be uplifting, confessional and addictive. And those same adjectives describe this book at it’s very best.
To be fair, competitive running undergirds many of the essays (remember, these are Runner’s World women). But you don’t have to know your PR to enjoy the read.
If you’re alive, and you run, and your life is not always perfect, you’ll discover some of your own experiences here, shared in another’s writing.
Tales From Another Mother Runner Giveaway
I’m excited to give away a copy of Tales From Another Mother Runner.
To enter, please leave a comment about
- what running means to you, or
- why you run, or
- if you don’t run, the activity that inspires you and keeps you sane.
One winner will be chosen randomly on August 31.
To facilitate this review, I received a copy of Tales From Another Mother Runner. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
Getting in Shape for Ski Season?
- The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting in Shape for Ski Season, November 19, 2014.
- Get In Shape for Skiing and Snowboarding, October 21, 2013.
- Get In Shape for Ski Season, October 24, 2012.
- Get Ready for Ski Season in 15 Minutes Per Day, October 13, 2011.
- Getting In Shape for Skiing, September 14, 2010.
- Getting in Shape for Telemark and Cross-Country Skiing, September 15, 2010.
- Getting in Shape for Snowboarding, September 16, 2010.
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