An Early Mother Runner

One of the 400 level writing classes I took in college focused on Sports Psychology, breaking the layers away from not only childhood sport experiences but also how athletes and everyday exercisers mentally develop from their surroundings. This field of thought was entirely new to me; as a 20 year old, my memories simply held onto the teams I was a part of and how to kick a ball up the field from defense.

The streets around the neighborhood that we still call “home” are familiar with my Mom’s running shoes. She never trained for a 10K or a marathon, instead running off of her own self-motivation (and likely a need for pure escape from 3 young children!). From what I can remember, she ran almost every day, solo. Sometimes my Dad would join her for a walk, and on a blue moon we’d join her on a bike for a little while. Either way, she got her run on.

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As Sports Psychology chapters argued nature vs. nurture, I had to give my votes to the latter. Suburban New Mexico was safe enough, and we had plenty of sandstone to climb for ‘backyard’ adventures; the “Outdoorsy” types are aplenty, but sports aren’t competitive and a true “natural” runner wouldn’t bloom out of pure luck.

The three of us grew up playing a variety of sports; I stuck to dance, soccer and tennis, strictly avoiding anything that revolved solely around running (ugh, how exhausting). My siblings’ stories are similar -we played what we wanted to (Soccer is the one common thread), our parents supported us in every way possible and encouragement was dished out generously.

{Insert an embarrassingly cute old-school photo of the three of us, decked out in our respectively ill-fitting jerseys, large socks and cleats.}

We never thought about not doing anything; of course our time should be spent on a team, running around, exerting our energy with some sort of direction and purpose. We may not have realized it then, but the examples had been set; every day involves physical activity, whether that’s coached, in the backyard or around the neighborhood.

I like to think of it this way – my Mom ran before it was “cool”, in her cotton t-shirts, aging shorts and whatever shoes happened to be by the front door. There were no local “5Ks” or Turkey Trots or group runs to meet up with. She ran to stay healthy, in shape, and sane. I don’t remember ever asking her why she did this; really, I don’t remember questioning it at all. Of course she ran, and of course I would, too.

All three of us have maintained a level of physical activity, in every year of our lives. My brother & sister played intramural sports in college, went on hikes outside of their southern desert campus and live for the first snowfall of the season so they can dust off the snowboards. Now, we all run, too.

dukecityhalf 011 ExcitedtoRun
PlatteRiverHalf 020 the trio 100_1544

Mom, we did all of these things because you (and Dad!) set the example. You showed us it was okay to sweat, take 30 minutes of the day for yourself, and spend a few extra dollars on running/soccer shoes, ski gear, hiking boots, and eventually a race fee. You keep yourself healthy, and we never questioned why someone would make an effort to do so. You do something for you, and we’re better for it.

Happy {early} Mother’s Day, to my favorite Mother Runner!
Love you, Mom.


Luckily, these days, there are quite a few Mother Runners! Thanks to Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea, a community has formed and these mother runners are encouraged and supported by each other every day. Kudos to you all, and happy Mother’s day to you, too! Enjoy the miles.



Filed under family, home, running

13 responses to “An Early Mother Runner

  1. Great picture of F-town! And I totally remember seeing your mom out running!

  2. Great tribute to your mom! And how great is it that she went out and ran all the time just for the enjoyment of it?!

  3. Lauren

    Love this!!! Love you too ma 🙂 so happy you taught us how to be active and healthy!!

  4. Mamacita

    Thank you Heather; and I am thankful the three of you are active, healthy and happy adults. Can’t wait to see you next week! Love you lots, Mamacita

  5. jos

    I would go running at the FHS track or Berg Park during the summers while my mom walked. Our family would also go mountain bike riding in CO or near Lions Den. And there were very FEW races and sweat wick clothing!!!


    I didn’t have very healthy examples set by my parents but I am determined to change that and set healthy examples for my kids! This is such a wonderful post!!

  7. What a nice post! Love the healthy upbringing and active lifestyle of your whole family. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

  8. runningoutofsteam

    My husband made a very nice comment the other day. I was reading my runners magazine which happen to showcase a bunch of professional female runners who are moms. Although I am in complete awe of these women, my negative side came out. I want to see how a full-time working mom fits everything in. My husband said they should do an article on me. I am NOT a role-model. But his response, “but you are a mom and you run.” While I don’t run as much as I would like, this made me tear a little.

    I thank my mom for having health be a focus of our lives. It is what drives my running nowadays.

  9. such a beautiful post! I’m sure your mom cried when she read it! I know mine would have. 🙂 I love that your family is into fitness, specifically running and being outdoors – and clearly it’s a huge part of your life with D, and you’ll pass it on to your children, too! My mom is very active – she’s never been a runner, but she she always has a workout routine, and she loves hiking and bike rides.

  10. I love this post! Also I ran in the land of green chiles this morning, your mom must be a badass, the air is TINY! 🙂

  11. awww! loved reading this! your mom sounds awesome and I love that you have such a good relationship together. So great. Happy mother’s day to her!

  12. I think this made me teary eyed! How good looking is your family btw?! Dang, y’all are so cute.

    I love your mom already!

  13. Food Stories

    Found your site through Recipe Redux and thought I’d stop by to check it out. I subscribed to your feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

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