Editor's Note: Amanda Lamb is first up in our runner moms series, which we launched last week. Click here for past posts about it!
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to running. Sure, I ran when I was in my 20s here and there, but it wasn’t until the time crunch of parenthood entered my life that I realized running was my thing.
This didn’t happen overnight. I fought it, hard. But then I finally came to the realization that I didn’t have enough time to do anything else. I also realized that I could do it anywhere, anytime, even when I traveled.
I also discovered it was a social sport. I have a longtime running partner and a weekend running group. But the best part of running for me as a busy mother is SANITY. Nothing, I mean nothing, clears my head like a good long run.
I still consider myself a recreational runner, but I do have five half-marathons under my belt in addition to a number of shorter local races. Recently, I have had an injury which has temporarily sidelined me from my daily runs. I have filled the void with swimming and biking, but it’s not the same.
I returned to the open road with my first long run a week ago. Uncharacteristically, I found myself alone with only my iPod for company on the eleven mile journey. But I wasn’t lonely, not at all. Instead, I discovered that I had rare space and time to think, something busy mothers rarely get. Over the years, I have worked out many of my biggest issues running.
In addition to the valuable thinking time, at the end of a long run, I feel a sense of accomplishment that is unmatched by most of my small daily victories.
And, probably, the most important part of running, of course, is the health benefits. I don’t just mean the physical aspect, but the mental strength that one gets from knowing you can do something physically challenging.
When I am having a bad day, I take a deep breath and think: I can run 13.1 miles. And without giving my age away, when I enter a race these days, the number of women in my age group is steadily dwindling. If I keep it up, I figure I may even place in the top tier one day.
I have even introduced my girls to running, entering them in 5K’s every once in a while for charity. This has been met with mixed results, as they don’t run on a regular basis, and find even three miles pretty challenging. But, I always encourage them to try, even if they have to walk.
Sometimes, my girls complain about me going for a run when they would rather have me at home. But I explain to them that if they want Mommy to be healthy and be around for as long as possible, they need to allow me time to exercise. Ultimately, I hope as they get older, this will be a hobby we will share.
I plan to do a half-marathon in a few days, but for the most part, when someone asks me what I am training for, the answer is simple, “for life.”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood and one for children. Find her here on Mondays.