How an off-handed comment fueled a running revolution.
Our “club” began with five unique women pursuing a common goal: to run faster. This quest brought us together once a week for intense speed training on the track where we discovered we’re serious runners who don’t take ourselves too seriously. So a story was told of a particularly hot and sweaty day, when one of us was trying to squeeze in a run during her kid’s after school activity. A conversation was overheard: She's always so sweaty, said a decidedly un-sweaty mom, in a snarky tone. At that moment, we unearthed common ground.
It’s true. On occasion, we multi-task as our sweaty selves. But, we’re not ashamed or apologetic, we’re proud of what we accomplished to earn our sweaty status. Sweaty Moms Running Club is less about being a “mom” or being a “runner,” but more about being a community. It’s about pushing beyond your physical limits, about doing something you thought was impossible, about replacing “I can’t” with “look what I just did.”
We run. We sweat. Then we do a million other things.
Join the club. Be a part of the revolution.
I run to be inspired.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been running. I ran my first 10k – New Orleans’ famed Crescent City Classic – when I was 10. I like to stay in motion and throughout my life running has allowed me that. In my 30’s I decided I wanted to be “a runner” in hopes of inspiring my kids to stay active, set personal goals, and discover a sense of accomplishment. But a funny thing happened. It turns out, with every training run or race I’m the one who’s constantly inspired. By amazingly fast runners pushing their bodies to the edge, by first-timers who face down their fears, by the selfless givers who run to raise money for a worthy causes. I’m inspired by the unity and community of running– ever encouraging. I’m inspired by the training groups – tight knit and invigorating. I’m inspired by my kids – reaching goals then ready to set new ones. I plan to run as long as I can, because as long as I’m out there I know I’ll find inspiration around every turn.
I run to feel alive.
I fell in love with running when I was 11. My passion was sparked when I raced the 6th grade boys in a one-mile run and came in 3rd. My parents were 70's-jogging Baby Boomers, so I ran in 5k's and 10k's right beside them. I have always loved the runner's high! In my 20's I ran fast and experienced new cities through running as I moved around the country. Then in my 30’s, like so many women, my fast running was replaced by a fast-paced career and family pursuits. When I was 24 weeks pregnant with my second son I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both of my sons were born severely hearing-impaired, and surgically received cochlear implants. Thankfully, with health issues behind us, I returned to running with a vengeance at 39. I’ve never looked back. Whether it’s fighting cancer or preparing for my next Boston Marathon, my attitude is: do what has to be done. Mastectomy? Ok. Radiation? Let’s do it. How many miles this week? I’m in. Intervals on the track? Bring 'em on! I consider myself lucky to have a unique perspective on life. One that makes me appreciate that I CAN do it, whatever “it” is. And the beauty of running is the awareness I get from feeling totally alive.
I run to compete.
Running has always stirred my competitive side. My parents will never let me forget the 100-yard dash on field day in first grade when I accidentally tripped up one of my classmates. I just left her lying there in the grass as I raced toward the finish (they were much more sympathetic to her than enthusiastic about my win). As soon as I could be on a team in junior high, I jumped on board for track and cross-country. I worked and persevered through high school and landed a spot on Auburn University’s Division I track team. Running has always been such a part of my identity. “You still running?” is a common question from old friends. My answer is always an emphatic “yes!” although now it’s a different type of competition. Sure, I still LOVE to win or place in my age group, I’ll take that any day! But these days I’m also competing against all the demands that scream “you don’t have time for this” and the doubts that say “you won’t be able to do it this time.” Each day is full of choices, and I choose to compete rather than sit out. But now I’ve learned not to leave anyone facedown in the grass. Victories of any kind are best when shared with the friends who help you get there. And celebrating their success is as good as competing for my own.
I run to chase goals.Over the years I have seen my motivation for running evolve relative to my stage in life. I run to relieve stress, to finish fast in a triathlon, to achieve new goals, and to allow myself the pleasure of eating good food. In high school and college, I ran to lose weight. In graduate school, I ran to relieve stress. Now I run in triathlons as a competitive age grouper, and race to place. Whether I am competing in a triathlon or a road race, I race against others and myself with the goal of placing and setting new PR’s. I constantly challenge myself in a new distance or event — it’s all a thrill for me! Having completed four marathons (including Boston), around 10 half marathons, a half-Ironman, and qualifying to compete with Team USA for the long course duathlon in Belgium, I’m proud of my accomplishments. But I’m not finished. My next goal is to complete an Ironman. There are so many rewards of running, and it’s not just about staying in great physical shape. For me, it’s about mental discipline, setting personal goals and chasing them down.
I run to escape.I’ve always been involved in sports, and athletics, but I did not become a "runner" until college. I ran for the obvious: health and fitness, but the furthest distance I ever covered was three miles. When I moved to Birmingham, one of my best friends (and a fellow Sweaty Mom) encouraged me to run my first race. I’ll never forget the day we headed out for my first training run and she said, "let's do five,” to which I responded, "I can't run five miles!” Well, to my surprise, I ran those five miles. The next thing I knew I was running a 10k, then the first of many half-marathons. As a full-time, working mother of two very active boys, running is my escape. It’s a time that belongs solely to me. When my feet hit the floor most days, my "plan" is to run. When I run, I think, I pray, I talk, I listen, I daydream and I wonder. And for that small sliver of me time, I settle into the rhythmic cadence of my stride and the free flowing of my mind. I know in my plan the course may change and the distances may vary, but I just run with it.
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