In the early 90s, my Mom said goodbye to cigarettes and hello to running shoes.
I think she hoped running would stave off any resulting weight gain from kicking the habit. But when she’d come in from speeding through the neighborhood sweaty, spent, face tomato-red, you could see a glow about her that proved she got so much more out if it than that. I could sort of see glimpses of her as a kid in those moments — carefree, spunky, give-it-all-you’ve-got-ness.
Like clockwork, she’d run every other day in the wee morning hours. But never with a plan of how long she’d be gone or how fast she’d be running. She didn’t train for races. She didn’t monitor her stats on a fancy running watch. She ran by feeling.
I always wanted to be like her. But alas: I hate mornings, I’m not consistent, I go through running spurts and lulls, I obsess over numbers and pace and running goals (though I’m trying to get better). I always know where and how long and how fast I’m going to go.
From the outside looking in, you wouldn’t notice a whole lot of similarity between my mother and me, in running or in general.
But from the inside looking out, I know I am becoming more like her year after year. And I think it’s by purposeful design that by the time we reach the age of becoming our parents we’ve finally gained enough wisdom to truly appreciate them. That’s not to say we never did, just that it changes over time for the better. I used to admire her running consistency and compatibility with early mornings. Now I admire those things plus that she managed them while raising two teenage boys and a high maintenance little girl, cleaning up meticulously after slobs, going to school, and trying to keep up with what can only be described as swimming-pool-sized amounts of dirty laundry her family threw at her daily.
How did she do all of this and still find the energy and the passion for running?
I don’t know if I’ll ever train myself to be an early morning person or to ignore my time and pace, but I do know this: making time for that running glow somehow, some way, in spite of crazy days and curveballs and possible death by drowning in dirty laundry is worth it. That sentiment is one thing we do have in common.
Hopefully it’s not all.
Cheers to my running role model, my Mom, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms inspiring their kids every day without even knowing it.