“Oh, so you got 38th place? So then, what’s this medal for, mom?” My (then) six year old dude asked me while holding up my finishers medal.
“Well, everyone that made it to the end of the trail race got a medal,” I responded choosing my words carefully trying to crack a comforting smile.
His big brown eyes lingered at mine for a few pensive moments before he bolted off to do some other random game outside. I could read his thoughts though. “You’re gone every morning before we wake up and leave us everyday to run around the mountains with wild animals and hobos and got 38th place? Oh.”
I have three rowdy, spicy boys; 16, 8 and almost 5. They are my world and keep me busy and hopefully a little young at heart. We live in the mountainside town of Ogden, Utah where my ultra runner hubby was born and raised (I happen to be from SC.). We are an active family that at times let things slide such as grocery shopping, landscaping or maybe getting our dog groomed. Most days we don’t stop until our sleepy heads hit our pillows, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The life of a running mom is a delicate balancing act. I’m sure many of you can relate. Throw in another puzzle piece with a runner hubby training daily and it becomes a delicate orchestration of planning, give and take or sometimes sacrifice. During the week, I hit the trails pre-dawn cruising home sometimes before everyone wakes up or sometimes in the middle of breakfast. (You know how kids are with sleep patterns.) Hubby takes care of whatever might come up during that time. He then runs at night after work. Sometimes he makes it home for dinner, sometimes not. That used to bother me. Now, I get it and it’s a regular part of the routine. Saturday run time is sacred. We try and take turns on these longer run days so that we still have plenty of time for family life and each other through the day. Do we run together? Rarely. Ha ha! Sunday is rest day. Resting is the hardest thing to do at the Warren homestead, but we try. Our boys also understand that mom and dad function SO much better when we have our “trail time”.
The daily bedtime routine at our house also includes making sure my headlamp and watch are on the chargers, the weather is checked and clothes laid out (as to not wake anyone), and that cars are shuffled in the driveway according to the morning plans. It seems funny writing this down, but this is real life and really how we manage it all.
I frequently get asked questions relating to how in the WORLD we manage to train for long distances and still have any life at home. There’s even people sometimes that question my “mothering” assuming that I sacrifice kid time for run time. Not true. The answers here shouldn’t be too shocking. As I mentioned earlier, I get up EARLY. Yeah, it’s hard. However, because you really want to run, train etc, these things that are enjoyed so deeply don’t seem like a chore. The dark trail becomes my gentle morning reminder of solace and gratitude. Some parts of the year it’s even still dark when I finish. In other seasons, I chase the sunrise back to my car.
I told my guys about writing this piece and asked them to give me a good and a bad thing about mom running. These are mostly unedited.
Good thing: It’s fun to hear about all your adventures.
Bad thing: Babysitting.
James, 4 1/2
Good thing: You get to see a lot of zoo animals in the mountains.
Bad thing: Sometimes you smell yucky and I don’t want to hug you.
Good thing: You’re faster than my friends’ moms.
Bad thing: Your toenails are gross.
The other week, my crazy (now) eight year old was tearing around the yard as fast as he could. His penny-colored hair was flapping around his face along with one of my metals around his neck. He was pretend racing. It was fantastic. My heart soared. These sweet boys may not understand everything about our passion behind trail running/racing but they are absorbing the important pieces and I couldn’t be happier.