In case you are one of the five people in the tri-state area that I forgot to tell, I ran a marathon this fall. That’s right. I am an official marathon mama. 26.2 magnet on my car, wearing NYC marathon gear to the local Turkey Trot. I am officially THAT mom. I think you should be that mom, too.
1. It’s something just for you.
While the training was time-consuming and grueling, it was dedicated kid-free time. Not only am I a full-time working mom, but I am also a solo mom at night with my husband working long hours. My kid-free time consists of the hour between bedtime and when I pass out.
Training for a marathon was a sixteen-week period where I had to carve out time without kids. Some of my longer training runs, starting at 5 a.m. or earlier, took 3-4 hours to complete. This meant leaning on my husband for help in the mornings or on the weekends. But that time is priceless.
I know this is a serial killer move, but I don’t listen to anything while I run. How often do I get silence? Never! Every mom deserves this quiet contemplation, just you and the sound of your feet on the pavement.
2. The people you meet.
Joining a running team, even if you never want to run the marathon distance, is a 1000/10 situation. I can not recommend this enough. I joined a running team mostly made up of local moms, and we trained while chatting. We talk about our kids, partners, hopes, and dreams. By mile 15, there are no topics off limits.
As a mom, we rarely have opportunities to connect on a deeper level with friends from different walks of life. There are women with big kids and babies, stay-at-home moms, working moms, and single moms, all hustling alongside you, complaining that it’s too hot or cold. I am forever thankful for the friendships I’ve made training for a marathon.
3. Being a role model for your kids.
This. This is it for me. I ran my first marathon at 36. I don’t think I would have motivated myself to do this in my pre-kid era when I realistically had more time (and money) to devote to this hobby.
Once, after a fifteen-mile training run, I had the kids in the car and said, “Want to see how far mommy ran this morning?” They were so excited and impressed that we went two towns over. “You did this without a car?!” I loved showing them what was possible with their own bodies. I showed them later how Mommy ran from Staten Island all the way to the Bronx and back to the park. They were amazed like I was a superhero. I mean, I was. I have the medal to prove it!
Showing your kids what the body is capable of is a gift. My six-year-old is already itching to run with me. I want her to be excited to move her body and reach different goals. My dream is to run alongside my kids in a marathon one day.
Maybe being a marathon mama isn’t for you. Maybe a half marathon mama or a 5k mama. But a runner mama has its perks.
Even if you push a running stroller, you get to have some me time. You get to meet a whole new group of crazy friends who also want to wake up at 5 a.m. and run far. You get to show your kids what is possible. It’s a gift I want to share with all the mamas out there and invite everyone to sign up for a race this year, even if it isn’t a 26.2