Category: buddies (page 1 of 6)

And After 17.4 Miles, I’m a Person Again


The fantasy I’ve had since age 5 came true at Exchange 32 on Saturday morning when, for one brief moment, I got to be Ariel.

I know that I’m not really a real person to my kids. Not yet. They can’t really fathom my life outside of cooking and cleaning and telling them their shirts are on backward. Certainly they see me talking to other people, but my conversations hold little interest for them. They know I like to run and to write and—according to the Mother’s Day book Squish’s made—to read Green Eggs and Ham, which is all true enough, but I don’t think they understand that I like to do those things as a person and not necessarily as a mom. (And yes, I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Seuss’s writing style through multiple readings of his masterworks.) It is more amusing than anything to me at this point. I assume they will slowly realize that Mom is a person too as they grow up.

But sometimes I don’t feel like a real person to me either. And that is a problem. One that needs to be fixed. Possibly by not being the mom for a day or so and instead running around Cape Cod with vans full of other people seeking the thrill of handing off a slap bracelet at 1am to their teammate, then collapsing on the floor of the local high school gym for 3 hours of poor sleep before getting back in the van for the next leg of the relay race.


Only good things come from running by still waters.

At least that is what I did last weekend in running the Ragnar Relay around Cape Cod as part of the Chowdah Legs team. It’s been over a year since I ran a race, which is probably a real shame. I know I was pretty burned out last year after running Boston, but I didn’t know that I would take such a long time away from the racing scene. It was good to be back. Micah and I joined some neighbors and friends and friends of neighbors and neighbors of friends of friends to cover the 192 miles from Hull, MA to Provincetown. And what a good time it was.

It was fun to run without a stroller. It was great to push myself to go fast again. It was awesome to be silly/crazy/stupid/brave enough to run through the mist at 1am. And you know I loved to count how many people I passed (or, in the parlance, “killed”) as I ran my legs of the race. (More than 20 over 3 legs, in case you were curious.)


Chowdah Legs Van 2. BFFs. Or at least for the 29 hours we were stuck in a van together.

And of course sitting in a van with 4 or 5 other sweaty, anxious, excited runners for more than 24 hours is always a good time, too. Instant friends forever, obviously.

Our team did a darn good job, coming in 10 minutes ahead of our projected time. It’s always a good feeling to defy expectations, right? We crossed the line together, had some chowder and then went back to our people and beds and showers at the beach house, where my kids were busy playing in the sand and not knowing or caring that their parents just spent a day running and laughing and napping and talking and driving with their pals simply because that is what brings them joy as human beings.

They’ll figure it out some day. And when they do—and can put their shirts on forward the first time—I’ll let them run on my relay team.

To My Sweat Sisters


To Allison and April, who first showed me that running for fun was a thing.

To Diana, who challenged me to try it for myself and gave me something to aim for.

To Jen and Katrina and Ana who acted like it was no big thang to keep their legs moving for hours at a time—and took it for granted that I would learn to do it too.

To Christy and Suzie and Mara and Marin, who imparted more wisdom and strength to me on a handful of 3-milers than I had learned in the decade before I met them.

To Carrie, who put a marathon on my radar when it was the last thing I thought I could do.

To Shiloh and Valerie and Valerie and Heather and Elizabeth (and the menfolk, of course) for being my Ragnar team—where I learned, for real, that I could actually run.

To Abby, who inspired me with her determination to keep finish her first marathon, even when every part of her was saying, quite distinctly, “NO.”

To Becca, who is not ashamed to commiserate with me over the messy parts of running.IMG_5825

To Kathleen and Emily and Noelle, whose quick “Hi!” as we pass each other in the park often left me smiling for miles.

To Ashley, who keeps me running, even if it is only to see how many miles I can do in a month.

To Heather and Rachel, who took me in and cheered me on in Boston.

To Madison and Sharra, who made miles and miles in 20 degree weather not only manageable, but fun—and kept my mood high and bright all of last year’s long, cruel winter.

Ladies, if I had my druthers, every meeting between friends would include a run—a time and a place to move together, think together, to share a conversation or share the scenery in silence. It’s work, but it’s play, too. It knocks down walls and narrows your focus to what is right in front of you. It tunes you into the same wavelength and gives you an opportunity share laughter and tears without the awkwardness of eye contact. It can clear the air and cleanse your soul.

Wish we could meet up for a lap at Prospect Park tomorrow. But since we can’t, I’ll just say that I’m glad we’ve had a chance to share the road.



Sisters Tell Stories

You know that the best part of any girls’ night is the loads and loads of stories that come spilling out of everyone’s mouths. One minute you’ll be laughing so hard you can’t breathe and then suddenly you’ll be crying for real as you make an emotional 180.

As much as I love hanging out with friends, cracking jokes and musing about nothing, it’s really in the storytelling that friends become sisters.
Last night I listened as two wonderful sisters-from-church talked about their experience with divorce — shared their stories of heartache, loneliness, redemption, fulfillment. I knew these women before, had talked with them, had a sense of their strength and depth. But hearing their stories colored in the lines.

They talked about how much hearing other women’s stories helped them through their own difficulties. We have sisters all over the place, we just don’t know it until we hear their stories, or tell them ours.

“Story of my life!” and “I love that story!” one of my sisters-in-law always says.

Stories are our lives, and I hope that we love the stories we live, whether they are happy or sad, tearful or fearful. And I hope, too, that we share them with our sisters to strengthen and support them — to help them color in the lines of their own lives, of their own stories.

Some Kickin’ Cute Clothes from Kicky Baby


Sharra first told me that she was coming up with a line of children’s clothes last fall as we were running through the park with our kids in the strollers, as we do nearly every week. I hadn’t known that she was a fashion designer/seamstress. I knew she was a runner, a cyclist, a yogi. An art conservationist. A good conversationalist. A totally hip mom. A supportive and patient wife to a man with a lot of responsibilities. And an all-around fun friend/great person to be around/model of who I want to be when I grow up. But of course hidden talents abound in Brooklyn and Sharra was revealing to me one of hers: she makes kid clothes.

Real, live kid clothes for real live kids that move and run and kick and climb. Clothes that are bright and colorful and stylish and . . . just what you want because it’s just what you ordered.

At the time, back in the fall, I didn’t know all this. I just knew she was a self-taught seamstress and she was trying to work out the kinks in some of her patterns before she went big and launched her Etsy shop.


But then, a few months later she needed some models for her clothes and because I like nothing better than to be able to tell people that my children are models, I jumped at the chance. Squish and Little Miss went with the program and gamely let me change their clothes 5 times in 30 minutes and twirled and kicked and stretched and stood and sat for photos in Madison’s photo studio/bedroom.

And OH MY GOODNESS. The clothes! SO CUTE! Harem pants! Pinafores! Bibs! Bubble shorts! In infant to 5T sizes! I die. So beautiful. So fun. So perfect for little people and the parents who want them to look like the adorable children they are — and not like little adults.


Of course we had to get a pinafore for Little Miss.* Obviously. Sharra sent us some fabric choices and then waited patiently for us to peruse them and debate among ourselves for a couple of weeks before we settled on elephants and flowers. And then she surprised us by having the finished product to us basically the next week. Such service!

Now, many of you know that Little Miss is still mostly wild animal, and has not yet evolved fully into the civilized human being that she will one day be. But in the pinafore you wouldn’t know the difference. She looks the picture of a ladylike little person, but the cut and fit are perfect for allowing her to climb and jump and kick and swing like the monkey she is inside.

Clearly, I love the pinafore. Just like I love all the clothes that have come out of Sharra’s workshop. And because Sharra is such a generous friend, she’s giving MotherRunner readers a 25% (!!) discount on Kicky Baby clothes through the end of July (!!). Just message Sharra the promo code motherrunner25 when you make your order on Etsy.

Find Kicky Baby here! And be sure to order before July 31 to get the discount!


*Full disclosure: Sharra kindly provided the pinafore for me to gush over review on the Internet, just as I have been doing in person since I first laid eyes on her work.

On the Streets


Yesterday . . . I was feeling overwhelmed. The fridge was almost empty, library books were due, there was writing to be done and get-togethers to schedule, and in my rush to get the errands done before school pickup, well, I “didn’t have time” to tell myself to breathe.

As I biked over the bridge, I was totally zoned out, going over my list again and again and again, trying, I assume, to think about things so much that they wouldn’t need to be thought about anymore. Or, more likely, I was just running around in circles, chasing my own tail and completely incapable of making it stop.

But when we got back on the bike after pickup and started up the bridge and on our way home, things changed. It started, I think, when Dmitry of BikeNYC passed me: “You’ve got all three of them this time! I’ve seen you on the bridge three times now!” It was good to see him again, even if it was just for second. He was hardly out of my sight when another guy passed me and told me I was super mom. And he hadn’t gone too far when someone else offered their opinion about my superior strength.

At least a couple of more people cheered me on as we rode through Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Crown Heights. And aside from making me feel like a million bucks, they got me out of my head so I could stop trying to catch that stupid tail already.

There’s something really powerful about being on the streets of where you live. Not enclosed in your own cage of glass and steel, but actually on the street, directly exposed to the sights and sounds of the city. There’s a vulnerability to it that connects you to people. True, sometimes they are the people telling you to get a car already or to watch where you’re running before you steer your stroller into the bike lane – and that’s when you say “Mother knows best,” and keep on going (and maybe also try to remember that there is an angry guy on a bike in Prospect Park on Tuesday mornings and it’s best not to cross him).

But as often as not they are the people who just want to say hi and good work and isn’t it a great day to run or ride or live?

It takes away some of the burden, relieves the pressure, slows things down to a manageable pace, and makes the path straight again.

Baby, It’s Cold Out There

The irony was not lost on me. Yesterday morning, as I typed up a soon-to-be-published post for Babble about how I learned to love running in the cold last winter while training for Boston, I simultaneously tried to rationalize skipping my planned run with a friend. Snow was in the forecast, and with temperatures in the 30s, it’s much colder than it was last week. Too cold too quickly, I told myself. Thirty degrees is fine for a January run, but not November. It’s too cold for November. Plus, the snow. And wouldn’t the kids get cold? (I tried to ignore the fact that just the day before we had spent a couple of hours at Uniqlo outfitting our children in “heattech” clothing with the express purpose of trying to keep them warm when we were outside for long periods of time.)

But, as I said, the irony was not lost and, once I talked myself out of all the rationalizations, I told myself I’d go out no matter what. Even if my running buddy scoffed at the idea. Which she didn’t: “Snow is better than rain in my book. We will just bundle extra!”


And there went my last hope for an out. Because if my rational, intelligent, even-keeled friend thought it was going to be just fine to run with children in the cold and snow, then I really had no reason not to.

So we bundled extra. Little Miss looked just like Santa Claus (minus the beard) in her new puffy red full-body coat with her shiny black boots. Squish took great pride in layering his jeans and hoodie over his heattech long johns and turtle neck. And with gloves and hats and blankets and the weather shield, I knew they would be just fine. It could be 10 degrees colder and they would still be just fine. Maybe even 20 degrees colder.

For my part, I had on my running tights, a tank top, a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and . . . another long-sleeved shirt. With a hood. I pulled on some knit gloves and called it good. And it was good. We ran 8 miles, half of them with my friend and her son, and didn’t notice the cold one bit.

It was fortuitous, I’m sure, that I was writing that post on that particular day, and remembering how at the end of my training last winter I thought, “I’ve got to remember: winter running is awesome!” If I hadn’t, I might have missed out on the rush of conquering the cold and beating excuses.

And with a start like that, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a great winter. (And I say that without a trace of irony.)

It’s Party Time

I never thought I’d say this. Never. But . . . I kind of miss waking up early to go running. Or at least having the option to run, by myself, before the kids were up.

In the week since Manchild started school, which simultaneously stole my early morning run and gave me back the double jogger as a possibility, I’ve been out with the jogger three times. And I noticed that the jogger is hard to push. I can’t go as fast. And I have to try to talk to Squish. Or to listen to Squish when he’s trying to tell me something. And that’s hard to do, too. (No offense to my boy, but it’s just hard to hear when he’s speaking into the wind in his tiny little voice.)

Not so much solitude out there. Not so many effortless miles.


On the other hand, I did go running three times. Which is, roughly, three more times than I would have gone if I didn’t have the jogger.

Now that my weekday runs are guaranteed to be accompanied by two cute little munchkins, they are going to be a bit slower and a bit louder. I hope to take advantage of that and run with it. Since we’re pretty much a party running down the road anyway, why not really make it a social event?

This morning I ran with a friend (and her toddler). Last week I signed up for some races. (Rock N Roll 10K in Prospect Park and the Boston Marathon. Still planning to sign up for Miles for Midwives 5K and the Holiday Half.)

Pretty soon my running will be so full of people and places and races that I won’t even miss those early morning miles. At least not too much.

My Community of Runners

First! The winner of the Disney Baby Giveaway is commenter Beth who said, “I would love to win this as I have a baby shower to go to!” Congrats Beth! I’ll be in touch, and I hope your shower-ee loves this stuff as much as we do!

Thanks to everyone who participated.


And second: community. Belonging. Being a part of something. Knowing who your people are. It’s important.

I’ve been feeling a little lost lately. Not quite sure of myself and my place. It’s a silly thing, really, because I spend so much time with “my” people. You know, the ones I birthed. They, and Micah, are the people that matter most to me, the people that I really want to spend my time with. And, generally speaking, I know who I am with them. The mean mom. The devoted wife. The source of comfort and stability.

But even with that anchor, I often feel myself drifting about uncertainly in doubt and indecision.

Except when I’m among my other people. The ones whose faces I rarely see because we are all moving the same direction around the loop at Prospect Park. The ones whose sweaty backs tell me how long they’ve been running and whose short-length tells me how serious they are about speed.

A comfortable silence reigns when I’m with them, one that I feel no need to break, though I am happy to chat with whomever is willing to break stride to stay at my pace for a few minutes. And when they do, I’m guaranteed to feel even more energized and rejuvenated by my run than I normally am. (I should do that more often.)

There are some, of course, whose faces I do know and look forward to seeing, no matter how briefly it is as we whizz by each other. There’s David, of course, who helped propel me up Devastation Pass soon after Little Miss was born. And then there’s the smiling guy, who runs the “wrong” way, with a friend, and who has a radiant grin and a high-five for anyone who wants one. There’s the dude with the goggles and the dreds who must practically live on that loop – I see him nearly every time I’m out. And Luigi. Good old Luigi. His real name, I believe, is Paul, but he looks much more like Luigi to me. Sometimes I’ll see him chugging along, all 70+ years of him, and sometimes he’ll be doing push-ups on the curb. Because why not.

Yes. Those are my people too. And I’m grateful for them and the reprieve I get from confusion and self-doubt when I am among them.

I’m one of them. We are a part of the same world, the same community. And I never doubt that I belong there. And that’s important.

On Running Fast and Running With Friends

Just to be clear: there’s no need for speed. Not always, anyway.

It’s true that on weekday mornings, when I get out the door later than I’d planned and I’ve got to be back so Micah can leave for work, I’m in no mood to dawdle. Getting as many miles as I can in is my top priority – catching up with friends will have to wait. But weekends are a different story. Weekends are for relaxing, for chatting, for stretching out the run for as many minutes as possible – at least while the weather holds.

I say this because it has come to my attention that sometimes people don’t want to run with me because they are afraid to slow me down. They know I like to go fast and that is not necessarily on their priority list, let alone near the top of it.

But while I do like to run fast, mostly I just like to run. Also, I like people. And I like to share the things I like with the people I like. This includes running with them, if they’re into that sort of thing.


Now, it’s still true that Micah is my favorite running buddy and if I could, I’d run with him every day of the week. But now that we have 3 kids and only 2 seats in our jogger, it’s much harder for us to both run together and talk to each other. Our recent “family” runs have been more focused on making sure Manchild is safe on his bike while keeping Squish and Little Miss happy in the jogger.

And while I do appreciate some alone time now and then, and am a “cat runner” generally speaking, more and more I’m feeling like any chance I can get to spend with friends is a chance I should take. Because even though running isn’t a team sport, it is all about connecting: with yourself, with God, with nature, with friends. Now is the time to slow things down and strengthen those connections.

Invisible Miles

I did take a break from thinking of /talking about/looking at our new bike to put in a couple of miles last weekend. Actually, it was 9 miles. I hadn’t set out to do that many. I was hoping for 6 and was prepared to be happy with that – even though I generally like to sneak in a mile or two more on Saturdays.

But as I was approaching the last quarter of my figure-8 of the park, I got a phone call saying a friend was interested in running with me, and could I come meet her at the picnic house? I was there as fast as my legs could carry me and the two of us set off for another loop around the

I would say something about how great it felt to run those last 3 1/2 miles, but to say that would be untrue. I’m sure it did feel great, but I didn’t really notice. Those miles were silent and invisible because I was so lost in conversation, so deep into listening, that I didn’t even think about speed or pace or the ground or my legs or the trees or birds or people. My body was on autopilot while my mind and mouth were doing all the work.

My friend and I had a lot of catching up to do, a lot of commiserating and wondering and bouncing ideas off of each other to hear how they sound when they come back to our own ears. She’s a veteran of the school system that I’m about to become a part of. We’re both mothers of “many” (she has 4 kids), navigating the city while people look on in wonder or disbelief (I’m not always sure which). And we are – as everyone is, I’m sure – constantly staring down the future to try to see if it’ll blink, or give away some clue as to what the next few months or years will hold.

And having done that, having emptied my brain and relived my most recent traumas, having pondered on some of life’s imponderables and tried to answer some unanswerable questions, my body may have been a little tired, but my mind felt more alive and free.

I love those miles. I love those runs. I love those friends.

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