Tagged: Inspiration

What Does a Mother Runner Look Like?

Dimity over at Another Mother Runner sent ustweet earlier this week saying, "these  #motherrunners stand for exactly what you do: strength, confidence, beauty, awesomeness." She was right. Without disclosing too much information, we are happy to promote their photo essay, What a Mother Runner Looks Like. Please, feel free to participate in the project by sharing your photos! Be proud of your work, of your body and YOU! We will happily share and deliver photos to AMR on your behalf. 

What Does a Mother Runner Look Like? 14 Exhibits and Counting

October 1, 2012; By, Dimity

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] My very amenable, very brave running buddies, who stripped for me last Thursday morning, to begin a photo series. I asked the dogs to take off their collars, but they protested: they’re boy runners. Running with us is emasculating enough.[/caption] So I’ve had this idea fermenting in my head for six months now: a photo essay titled What Does a Mother Runner Look Like? A collection of pictures that celebrates the bodies that have carried us through all kinds of miles. I want to show that kickass strong and stretch marks go together–and that, despite what the cover of Runner’s World may broadcast, all sizes and shapes of bodies can be and are runners.I waffled for a long time, though, because I know how easily we women can fall into the how-great-is-her-body and how-much-does-mine-suck game? And I am not willing to promote those kind of sports. (Running? Yes. Jealousy? No.) So here’s my caveat: if you’re going to go into this post with a coveting attitude, covet just one thing: the fact that these women are so proud of their awesome, capable bodies, they’re willing to put them on display. I recruited a couple of pals to kickstart the project, because nobody likes to be first to the party. Initially, I had a very rigid idea of what I thought would work (individuals only, sports bras, short or skirt, in front of plain backdrop, whole body, head cropped off) and then I realized being rigid doesn’t make anybody’s life–and especially mine–easy. What follows is the beginnings of the album: some are group shots, some are alone, some mostly show bellies, others show full bodies, some are headless mother runners and others aren’t. As I work on being flexible, we want you–all of you, no matter how fit you feel, no matter how many little stretchy rivulets run along your abs, no matter if you’re currently channeling badass or not–to join in. Please send us a picture of yourself as a mother runner. You can be with a pal (the two- or four-legged kind); you can crop off your head or not (or ask me to do it); you can be as revealing as you want. (We’d prefer to see you in a sports bra, please, to keep some consistency with the pics.) Might be good to take the pic before a run so we don’t get you in all your sweaty glory, but we’ll take that too. Info to include: Age; number of kids (fine if you don’t have any); number of years you’ve been a runner; proudest running moment; favorite body part (no wiggling out of this one). Pull it together and send it to: runmother at gmail dot com. I will then pull it together in some cool photo album app thing and so the world will know what a mother runner looks like: proud, human, strong, badass. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360"] 43 years old, 2 kids, running for 2 years.[/caption] Proudest running moment: Just a month ago when I got to run Hood to Coast, I was very overwhelmed after finishing my last leg. Favorite body part: My brain because it is one part that keeps getting better with age well for me anyway; knowledge and wisdom increase with the years. If it has to be a visible part, it’s my legs. I truly believe that running saved my life and got me out of postpartum depression for good. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360"] 2 kids; runner for 18 years.[/caption] Proudest running moment: finishing my first marathon in 1999. I felt like I could have kept running even after 26.2 miles! Favorite body part: My arms! Always the easiest part to show how hard you have been working out! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360"] 46 years old, 3 kids, running for 25 years.[/caption] Proudest running moment: clocking 4:01 at the Big Sur Marathon. Favorite body part: my calves. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360"] 40-something; 2 kids; runner for 6 years.[/caption] Proudest running moment: standing at the starting line of my first marathon. Favorite body part: my legs. They have carried me countless miles and they’re stronger than I give them credit for. They respond to strength training and hill running by getting stronger. If I would just listen to my legs instead of my head, I would run faster and farther…. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360"] 48; 2 kids; runner for 4 years.[/caption] Proudest running moment: running my first marathon in 2010 while my daughter was going through chemotherapy for her kidney disease was a huge physical and mental achievement for me. Favorite body part: my thighs. I used to hate them: all fat, huge, giggly, with cellulite. Now they are toned, strong, and can carry me anywhere and as far as I want them to go. They still have some cellulite, but that’s ok.

2 kids; runner for 2 years.

Proudest running moment: finishing a half-marathon at the end of a 70.3 triathlon. Favorite body part: my eyes, because they never change.

45 years old; 3 kids; runner for almost 4 years.

Proudest running moment: going sub two-hours in half-marathon in April 2011. Favorite body part: my legs for sure. They’re strong and lean.

Left: 39;  2 kids; runner for 2 years. Right: 39; 2 kids; runner for 1.5 years.

Left: Proudest running moment: crossing the finish line at first mud run with 18-year-old son. Completely unassisted; no one had to carry me, as in an EMT. (Ha!) Favorite part of body: my kids. They always make me smile, and they are a part of me. Right: Proudest running moment: finishing a hateful 11 mile training run in preparation for my first half-marathon. Favorite body part: my butt. When I lost weight after pregnancy and while nursing, my behind was pancake flat. Running has made me curvy and strong again.

40-something; 4 kids; runner for 25 years.

Proudest running moment: finishing my first 100-mile race with my family and my BRFs by my side. [Editor's note: forgot to ask her what her favorite body part is. Dang it.]

55 years old; 1 kid; runner for 35 years.

Proudest running moment: when I qualified for Boston at my very first marathon at age 48. Favorite body part: Love my legs because they continue to carry me through long runs and over hill and dale.

2 kids; runner for 2 years.

Proudest running moment: finishing the Twin Cities Marathon with friends. Favorite body part: TBA.

1 kid; runner for 12 years.

Proudest running moment: with so many distractions and commitments, every single time I make it out the door for a run. Favorite body part: My waist. I’m psyched I have one. We’ll end with this beauty of a shot, taken by a professional photographer. The mother runner on the left writes, “Can you disclose this picture was from Laura Mahony, a professional photographer, who knows her lighting? It’s way more flattering than I would have gotten with a cell phone.” But wait! There's more! Be sure to check out the first set of photos Another Mother Runner received, and check out the post with the second set, Part II! Enjoy! 

Greetings and Introductions!

Hi Title Niners! My name is Amy and I am beyond delighted that Title Nine has invited me to be a columnist for this blog, Timeout with Title Nine. I am a huge fan of the company and their products, but most especially, I adore and whole-heartedly believe in their philosophy and vision. So I’m pretty stoked to be here and wanted to use this first post as an opportunity to introduce myself to you. In a nutshell, I love the outdoors and the variety of life lessons, personal growth and transformations I’ve experienced from exploring and taking risks in the outdoors. I believe that taking risks and pushing beyond our comfort zones, past our self-imposed boundaries, keeps us young, fit, growing and constantly evolving into better and more vibrant versions of ourselves. A few years ago I took the biggest risk I’ve ever taken when I quit my comfy corporate job and leaped into the unknown jungle of a new career and subsequent entrepreneurship as I launched my own company, Expand Outdoors, to help women like me—and perhaps you—to take more risks. To push our boundaries and test our limits to expand our vision of ourselves and the world around us. To leap. And so begins the birth of, JUST LEAP. A monthly column on stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries, by me, Amy Christensen of Expand Outdoors. Breaking Down My Own Barriers. I remember the first time I got the Title Nine catalog in the mail. It was around 2000 or 2001 and a year or two after I had run my very first mile—ever. Continuously. Without stopping. Running that first mile was a significant defining moment in my life that marked the beginning of a new path. I was a true beginner, feeling at times both in over my head, overwhelmed by all there was to learn about this new endeavor called “working out,” and exhilarated, strong in the growing realization that I was not only getting stronger physically, but my attitude and confidence was shifting. I found myself speaking up more in meetings, and saying “yes” to more adventures and experiences that had previously seemed out of my reach. As I opened that first catalog, preconceived ideas (that I didn’t even realize I’d had) fell away. My gaze landed on the running tights. You mean I can run in the winter? In the snow? In hindsight, of course, this seems like a no-brainer. But back then, I didn't know people did that. Having grown up in suburban Maryland, people didn’t do that—at least none I’d ever seen. So I ordered the tights and began to get outside and off the treadmill a little more often. My runs became meditative and, dare I say it, fun. I started running during snowstorms, feeling strong and a little more of a badass than I’d ever imagined myself to be. My confidence climbed a little higher with each run. I began to believe there might be other things out there I could do that I hadn’t considered. As the years passed, it became a theme. If I can run in the snow and ice, what else can I do? If I can run 5 miles, how much farther can I go? A half marathon? Check. A full marathon? Check. I never imagined I could run 26.2 miles. What if I run 50? Suddenly, more and more possibilities opened up. And not just in running: I’d always had a steady, predictable job. Could I start my own business? Do I need a home base? What if I lived out of a van on the road for a year? My self-imposed barriers began to soften. Instead of feeling stiff and permanent, I saw flexibility.
Through trail running and other outdoor activities, I finally learned—and experienced—that the barriers around me were only there because I put them there. We all have barriers we put around ourselves for one reason or another. Over the past two years as my business has grown, plateaued, and grown a little more, my barriers have been tumbling down. For me, the constant thread keeping me sane throughout this process has been the outdoors: Trail running, climbing, mountain biking, surfing, camping, hiking. These are the things I do that constantly remind me what I am capable of. They teach me patience, perseverance and passion. They remind me that I am stronger than I think, and that the process of the experience is what creates the magic. I’ve leapt, and keep leaping into new adventures. This is one of them and I’m so excited to share it with you all. I hope you’ll join me and do some leaping of your own. ------ Amy Christensen is owner and life coach at Expand Outdoors. Because she’s super-stoked to be here, she’s offering a 20% discount on any of her individual coaching packages to the first three folks that sign up. Contact her here if you’re interested. In the meantime, subscribe here for updates, articles, news and special offers. She’d love to see you over on her Facebook page or connect with you via twitter (@expandoutdoors).