Teenagers & Ultras

Kari Porter has two kids- a daughter age 15, and a son age 12. She has been an ultra runner for 8 years. While Kari has experienced DNF’s, she also completed every standard ultra distance from 50K-100 mile. She has been a single mom for 12 years. When Kari is not running or being a mom, she is a 4th grade teacher.

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Parenting is like training for and running an ultra-marathon. Neither one is easy. There are good days and bad days. Both take an incredible amount of patience and dedication.

When you first learn that you will be a mom, you feel a mix of nervous butterflies and excitement. You might question if you are ready and worry as to if you’ll do a good job.

When you click that ‘register’ button and commit to training for a big race, maybe it’s a similar feeling. You’re excited, but also wonder if you have it in you to finish. You know there is a long road ahead of you of training. It will take dedication and, at times, learning how to be uncomfortable. stepping into the unknown.

As a parent, we face so many moments of unknown and times of question. In ultra-training, you might also have moments when you question if you can do it. But in both, you try to stay motivated and committed. You tell yourself that you are doing it right. You tell yourself your training is working, and that you’ll be ready.

Sometimes in training, you really have a strong drive to keep going. Your tough workouts or long runs go off without a hitch and you feel accomplished. And then, such as life, there are those low spots too. Stress, illness, injury, the demands of family and work; they all take a toll. You might even struggle to light that fire you once had and stick with the training. You just keep hoping you’ll be prepared to toe that start line.

When raining a child, you go through highs and lows as well. When you child tells you they love you, you melt. They want you to play toys with them, read them stories, or cuddle on the couch. As you watch them grow up and accomplish great things, it gives you a feeling of pride. You know you did something right.

Then suddenly, your child is a teenager. Raising a teenager is probably one of the hardest things in life. They don’t want to hang out with you anymore; their friends are more important than you. Your job is finding the balance between raising a good human, who behaves well, but also someone who can stand on their own two feet. You must set boundaries and deal with the push back. Your child gets angry with you or says hurtful things. Maybe you’re crying yourself to sleep some nights. You’d give anything to help your child see things from your perspective and help them to understand that you really do have their best interest at heart.

Maybe your race doesn’t go as planned. Your heart breaks when you have to take the DNF. You tell yourself it’s going to be okay. You tell yourself that you made the right call. There will be other races. Today just wasn’t your day. But it doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking. Maybe you take a step back, recover, and then go after that goal again.

When you are exhausted as a mom, you still wake up the next day and do life again. When you don’t have the energy to do that long run, you still go because you know you’ll feel better once you get it done. Someday your teenager will see how much you did for them, and they will like you again. Someday you will get that ticket or that buckle you fought so hard for. Even on the hard days with your teenager or even when a race goes south, you are not a failure. You love you child, and you love running.

About the Author

Kari Porter has two kids- a daughter age 15, and a son age 12. She has been an ultra runner for 8 years. While Kari has experienced DNF’s, she also completed every standard ultra distance from 50K-100 mile. She has been a single mom for 12 years. When Kari is not running or being a mom, she is a 4th grade teacher.

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2 Responses

  1. Ahh. This is so great! I often feel as though I am not succeeding and parenting or running, but you are right: ” “You love you child, and you love running.”

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