Trail Running Mother

Darlene Ciampa, lives in Pinkney, Michigan and is 52 years old. Discovered Selena Beers, Angie Krushinski and the Trail Sisters Metro Detroit two years ago. On a lifelong search for ways to give back to the trails and my trail sisters as much as they give to me.

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I am a Trail Running Mother.  I have treasured Trail Sister friends who are Trail Running Mothers.  My daughters are 20 and 23.  My Trail Sister Friends have children from the ages of 9 months to well into their 30’s. A few things we share in common are the push and pull of family, energy and time on our running.

The birth of my daughters really rocked my world in the best and worst of ways.  The best ways were joy and amazement that my husband and I created these little humans, watching their eyes take in the world, our delight when our kids would learn and grow.  The worst ways: lack of sleep, lack of energy, lack of time to do anything for myself.

I felt selfish, guilty, sad and overwhelmed for wanting to go running or work out.  How could I take an hour or two from my kids every day to go and invest in myself?

My husband and I had to get the kids up, take them to daycare, commute to work, come home from work, pick the kids up from daycare, cook dinner, clean up from dinner, play with the kids, bath the kids and try to get them to go to bed, then collapse from exhaustion and do it all again the next day.  Weekends were filled with grocery shopping, laundry, housework and getting the kids out of the house for activities and playdates.

Before kids, I told myself that I would never let myself “go” after having kids.  After having kids, I could barely keep my eyes open at 8:30 pm every night.  Sprinkle in depression, insomnia, lack of sleep, being out of shape and I had let myself “go”. 

It was hard because I compared myself to moms who had energy to wake up at 5 am to go for a run, could fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans, had a husband who was home on weekends and didn’t have to work overtime.

I began exercising in spurts, starting and stopping with an exercise class once a week, going for a jog, buying a fitness video or meeting a friend for a weightlifting session occasionally.  Nothing really stuck until my youngest was 7 years old.

I feel my fellow Trail Runner Mother’s pain when their spouse comes home from work and falls asleep on the couch, they or their spouse must work overtime, daycare falls through, spouse travels for weeks at a time for work.  Pile on top of that kids getting sick, have homework and have playdates.

If I could, I would love to give my fellow Trail Running Mothers more energy, time and less family obligation so they only had to get out the door and go for a run.  We have a fantastic solution for daycare with the Trails Sisters Childcare Grant.  How do we bottle up energy, more daylight hours and less family obligation and give it to our Sisters?

How do we create more solutions and answers to the age long dilemma for Trail Running Mothers?  Most Trail Runner Mother’s have ample daycare options and opportunities, what they struggle with is finding the energy and time to go running. 

First, we have to create awareness.  Let’s open the dialogue and say Motherhood is hard and we all know it.  No caveats, buts, excuses or slogans.

Second, we have to examine what makes our days so draining, obligating, time consuming.  What are we focusing on that steals our energy and time like nothing else?

Third, we have to open up to asking for help.  Asking for help is not asking friends, colleagues and family to tell us what we should or should not be doing, thinking or for marriage advice.

Fourth, we have to bring all ideas and solutions to the table.  The solutions are within each of us, and we need a trusted, safe environment to share them. Trail Sisters is the compassionate, kind and open environment where we CAN share and find the solutions.

Trail Sisters is a mighty and powerful force of nature.  We have the best Trail Runners, Trail Mothers, Trail Daughters, Trail Grandmothers, Trail Aunts, Trail Wives, Trail Cousins and Trail Women. We have generations of knowledge, history, experience, compassion to help our Sisters.  We have our diverse fabric of cultures, races, religion, sex, socioeconomic status and identity to make the path easier for our Trail Runner Mother. 

It is our hope, faith, drive and determination that make us Trail Sisters.  It is our hope, faith, drive and determination that will bring us the solutions.  We can start by reaching out to a Trail Mother Runner in need and asking, “How Can I Help?”.  Our Sisters need us, and we can rewrite our future by one experience at a time.

How will you help your Trail Sister and Runner Mother?

About the Author

Darlene Ciampa, lives in Pinkney, Michigan and is 52 years old. Discovered Selena Beers, Angie Krushinski and the Trail Sisters Metro Detroit two years ago. On a lifelong search for ways to give back to the trails and my trail sisters as much as they give to me.

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