“You have five kids, how do you have time to run?” This is a question I get from almost everyone I meet. And my response is, “I make time.”
I was never a runner in my youth. I didn’t run in high school nor college. I started running after I had my third child– maybe with being outnumbered, I decided to flee the household. Now I run about four to five days a week anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour on average.
It is through running I can escape the worries and at times the burden of motherhood. During these thirty minute breaks, often on the scenic, Montour Trail,I get to clear my head, recenter myself and start fresh. Running brings me clarity and patience and a fresh outlook for the rest of my day. Oftentimes I get crazed with the demands of five children, and in this small stretch of time during my run or as I refer to it my ‘escape’ I can rejuvenate and recharge myself to meet the demands of motherhood.
Consistently, as mothers we place ourselves on the back burner; we neglect ourselves and our health and put off a workout or delay starting a new workout routine due to the demands of motherhood. A way that I stopped this cycle of neglect and delay was by signing up for races. If I sign up for races, (and post on social media that I am going to run it) I am obliged to train for the race. Signing up for races is a way for me to gain accountability for myself and forces me to follow through on a healthy lifestyle. I started off racing in 5K’s and then increased to 10K’s which has led to half marathon races (maybe one day soon I will run a full marathon).
An added benefit of running is not only am I becoming healthy and staying active, but so too are my kids. My oldest son is on the high school cross country and track teams, and has developed some great friendships with his teammates as well as a love of running, health and fitness.
I have been running for about ten years. People look at me and may think that I am not what a ‘runner’ looks like, and I am okay with that. Running has taught me many things, and has given me much needed confidence and security in my body. It has also taught me how to:
- keep on keeping on–to keep going even when I want to stop
- relieve stress
- make ‘me’ a priority
- laugh, as my kids ask if I came in first place in the half marathon
- forge friendships–running friendships are the best friendships
- experience this city in a unique way–running through the city and its parks is a great way to see the beauty that is often overlooked when one is in a car.
- experience thankfulness that I am able to run–I am able to keep moving forward even if it is one step at a time.
As runners in the steel city, we are often referred to as a ‘runners of steel’, but I think of myself as a ‘mother of steel who runs’. I encourage any mother or father who has put off a fitness routine, to begin one today. Taking the first step is often the hardest, but once the first step is taken, you will be rewarded. Hope to see you out there on the trails and the various races in the city!
Read more of Sarah’s writings on her blog http://wicklowwildflower.com or @wicklowwildflower on facebook.