By Kate Coleman
I believe every woman, especially mothers, should have something that they can call their own. I am not talking about a possession, but something that only can belong to her. Something like running.
As mothers, we tend to turn our focus on our kids from the start. They need us to take care of ourselves when they are in our wombs and once born, they are reliant on us for their survival. It can be easy to lose ourselves in those being who are reliant on us. Sometimes, we need to be selfish and focus on ourselves.
When my children were very little, the alarm was set for 4:00am every morning. I had to be at the gym by 4:30am and be back home by 6:30am on weekdays so my husband at the time could leave for work. The alarm rang very early some mornings, but I always had my workout stuff ready the night before and the alarm out of reach. I was a walking zombie until the time I had my coffee in its to-go cup and in the car. After a couple of weeks, it became habit and although never “easy,” it just became part of my day. The best part was walking out of the gym when the sun was rising and the birds were singing their first morning song – and I was finished with my run.
As the kids got older, and they began school, I found my time was a little more flexible, so I began to run after they were at school. I would get my work finished in the mornings when I USED to be on the treadmill and then get to run outside. Basically, it was about organization and knowing that when I ran, it was MY time. I left my phone in the car and still do.
I slowly built up my miles, scheduling my runs around my kids’ schedules as well as my then husband’s work. If the kids had soccer practice for an hour, it was a great time for a 5-6 mile run. Swim practice was another chance. It was great to be able to tell the kids that while they were working out, I would be as well. They seemed to appreciate that.
Then I decided to do a race. I started with a 5k. I was so nervous that I would be the slowest one and everyone would be gone when I finally finished. To my surprise, I did very well and finished in the top ten. The feeling when I crossed the finish for the first time will always stay with me. I did it! What could I do next since I did not die on that race? I started doing 10ks. After a 10 mile run one day, and feeling I still had some energy, I decided another three miles would not be so bad, so I did my first half marathon. It was almost surreal when I crossed that line. I felt powerful! I had done it and no one else could have trained or run that race. It was 100% ME! This was MINE!
I still run half marathons but now also do triathlons. My youngest two girls (I have five children) also do triathlons. I am training for my first Half Ironman the end of March and another one the end of September. I plan on doing a full Ironman next year and hope to qualify for Kona. Then what? Who knows, but whatever it is, it will be something that only I have done and which is only MINE!