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Photo Gallery: What a Mother Runner Looks Like

If you saw our previous post on the What a Mother Runner Looks Like, you know that it's some powerful, inspiring stuff. The photo submissions for the project were such a success that their release was split into two parts. We chose to share with you the second edition as the copy is beautifully written and says a lot about the project. You can also see photos from Part 1 here, and the rest of Part 2, here. And again, please feel free to participate in the project by sending us your photos! We will happily share and deliver photos to AMR on your behalf. 

What does a mother runner look like? Strong. And smiley.

Up today: round two of What Another Mother Runner Looks Like. 75 or so mother runners who come in a range of shapes and sizes, but personify what mother runners stand for: confidence, strength, ambition, inspiration, vibrancy. I hope the combined 132 pictures drove home the point that there is no such thing as a stereotypical runner. Sure, there are wisps who whip across the line seemingly effortlessly—and there are a few of them in this collection (and yes, we love you and your little bods!)—but the majority of the pack are runners who might have bulky quads; who might have a little extra bulge on their midsection; who might be far from the “ideal” runner physique. But here’s the thing about the majority of us: we’re dominating the race fields. Some days, we’re running long. Some days, we’re running fast. Some days, we’re just running. We’re setting PR’s and killing the hills. We’re surprised by how running has become ingrained in our DNA, the reward of dedication and consistency. We’re inspiring others to try it. In short, we are redefining what a runner looks like. I wanted to share a few thoughts from Rebecca, who describes herself as overweight/obese since puberty (“and three pregnancies haven’t helped,” she adds). When she submitted her picture, she wrote,

Rebecca went outside her comfort zone to participate. That’s some serious strength.

 “I like your idea for a photo essay: real women, with real bodies. It’s outside my comfort zone, but I’ve decided to include my photo because I think there are plenty of other women out there whose bodies look more like mine than any of the 14 shown so far. And I think it would mean a lot to those other women to see someone more like themselves. Women who equally value the another mother runner community that the two of you promote.” Rebecca: we so appreciate you—and the rest of you—who have put yourself out there. There is a reason why this community is so valuable: it’s as strong and supportive as the collective legs we run on. Again, I ask you to please share this gallery: Facebook it, tweet it, send it to your pals. Thank you, thank you. And here’s the link to Part I in case you missed it. (And full disclosure: I am not in this. I meant to be, but it’s 9:15 p.m. and I have to run at 5:20 a.m. and I have no interest into changing into a sports bra and spandex right now. Raincheck. Promise.)
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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

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.

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.

43 years old, 2 kids, running for 2 years.

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.

2 kids; runner for 18 years.

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!

46 years old, 3 kids, running for 25 years.

Proudest running moment: clocking 4:01 at the Big Sur Marathon. Favorite body part: my calves.

40-something; 2 kids; runner for 6 years.

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….

48; 2 kids; runner for 4 years.

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! 
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Kicking Butt at Crossfit and Loving Every Minute

Photo credit: Thomas Campitelli

I started Crossfit exactly one month before my 29th birthday in August 2010. I was living in North Lake Tahoe and had been hearing about Crossfit from a number of friends, including one friend who was able to finally quit smoking and who totally transformed himself all in a couple of months. His results were inspiring, and I had also heard you got to jump around on things, swing on other things, and get upside down. I was so in! Those first couple of days I wasn't sure I'd be able to make that five minute stroll home because I was so frickin' sore.

I’ve always been active in a variety of different types of exercise, including cycling, triathlons (I can barely swim and I hate to run) Tae Bo, P90X, and more, but none were able to garner my short attention span for long. Crossfit has complemented my A.D.D. perfectly because there are literally hundreds of skills, movements, and lifts not just to learn but also to get the technique right. There's little time for boredom with Crossfit and I always have a list of things I want to accomplish; some of it is improving technique, some of it is doing a skill for the first time, and somewhere on that list is to run more, too. Basically, there is ALWAYS something that I will pretty much suck at doing, so there is always something to improve and whatever it is, I will hammer it until I get it, get better at it, and then own it. That first month I started, it was double unders, clearing the jump rope twice in one jump. I couldn't do those things to save my life, but after every workout I'd go out into the parking lot and keep trying. This process included thousands of failed attempts, and so, so many painful leg lashings. The first time getting consecutive double unders was like a rite of passage (you know, because people call it a cult). High fives abound! Soon instead of 4 or 7 DUs it was 34 and when I broke 50 I pretty much threw a party. That, in the CF world, means proudly writing my name up on the board, “Michelle M: Double Unders: 52”. Oh the glory! The support from everyone has always been and continues to be incredible and never ceases to amaze me. Only four months after I started CF, I moved to Oakland. I missed the trainers, I missed the friendships, and I didn't think there was any gym that would be able fill those shoes. And then I found Crossfit Oakland. I was surprised to find the same high quality trainers and high quality people with whom to surround myself and I remember on my first visit I watched (from afar) the two strongest women in the gym back squatting, thinking, “damn, they are strong” and subsequently, “I could never do that.” Fast forward to now, and I am proud to call them my friends and I am back squatting not only with them, but also at almost the same level! In March 2011, with much hesitation, I signed up for my first Crossfit competition, The Crossfit Open. At one point, I went through a bout of “my muscles are getting too big” thoughts but that lasted about a minute. I decided I loved seeing and testing what my body was capable of doing, what my muscles allowed me to do much more than anything else. Individuals from different gyms submitted their scores online and then can see the rankings at the end of each week. By doing these competitions I learned, or remembered, rather, that I can be crazy competitive, and that I pee A LOT before any competition. While I absolutely believe that this is all about improving the person I was yesterday, to find someone else who's at a similar skill level as me can offer some unique opportunities to challenge myself and push past what I previously thought I could not do. It's just another element that makes going to the gym fun. I'm competitive, I want to beat the girl next to me. Always. But when she beats me, I turn around and don't hesitate to congratulate her, because she pushed me, and that was the goal. Since that first Open, I've competed in a couple other competitions, with a couple more on the horizon. The last one was the Nor Cal Regionals team competition. Regionals were a great experience for me. They did a great job of exposing my weaknesses (pull-ups, for the love of God, pull-ups!), but I found I can do well under pressure and I got a PR along the way (140# snatch). It was a 3 day roller coaster of highs, lows, and wtf’s...I love to hate that anxious panic attack in the minutes leading up to the 3-2-1 GO! The best moment is that split second after “GO!”, right when all that nervous energy gets transformed into kinetic energy; which I'm pretty sure is, like, a law of physics or something.

Crossfit has transformed me in ways I couldn’t imagine. For starters, I'm no longer afraid to walk over to the “men's side” of the gym. It's also not unusual if I'm picking up a heavier weight than the dude doing his bicep curls, and start doing some dumbbell thrusters if I need a quick workout. That in itself has been a mini transformation for me. And recently I tried rock climbing for the first time outdoors in Kings Canyon National Forest. I had the opportunity to do a multi-pitch climb and was shocked that my arms weren't shaking – at least not from lack of strength. Being able to trust and use my legs and pull my body up with my arms was an amazing application of the functional fitness I train for inside the gym. In short, I’ve found what works for me. Any gym where the clientele applauds a 31 year old woman walking on her hands down the length of the gym is my kind of gym. Literally, no weird looks, just an actual round of applause for a little handstand walking. How cool is that? I just want to play, challenge myself, and stay healthy in the process and I get to do that every day. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story to share about achieving goals, overcoming obstacles or stepping outside the comfort zone, send them our way. That's how we found Michelle! Any and all ideas are read by a real T9er and will be responded to: timeout@titlenine.com (Our greatest thanks to Thomas Camptelli for the fab photo!)  
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Comfort Food Gets a Healthy Makeover

We spotted this article on Runner's World this morning as our little toes and fingers were freezing off and talk of soups, casseroles and hearty meals had us counting the clock for lunch. However, in gearing up for the holiday's we're doing our best to stay true to our fitness goals and maintain the hard earned shape we gained over the summer. Enter, this article! You know we love our cream and a good bar of chocolate, but there is no harm in implementing a few of the tips below to keep you feeling fresh after that big bowl of homemade chili. Enjoy! Oh baby, it’s cold outside. When the weather outside is less than forgiving—like it is where I live in Pittsburgh—comfort foods sound great. But some of these foods pack a pretty hefty calorie punch, which can make your next run feel more like a waddle. Here’s how you can still eat your favorite winter foods in an enlightened way. Chili  Make a chili with 95% lean ground meat, or a mix of lean ground meat and ground turkey breast. Add some beans, canned tomatoes and spices for flavor. Soups and stews Stew meat is extremely lean. Add veggies (fresh, frozen or canned) for a comforting meal that tastes great. When making chicken noodle soup, think more broth and veggies and less noodles. Try using a whole grain—like barley—instead of noodles for a nice chew. Hot cereal  This is one of my personal favorites. Instead of buying the presweetened varieties, buy plain oatmeal and add a protein source (skim milk, soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk or protein powder), a sweetener (preserves, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar), fruit (fresh, frozen or dried) and spice (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, even a dash of cayenne). Mac and cheese  Play with a mac and cheese recipe too much and you may get a very unsatisfactory dish, but you can swap a few ingredients for a lower calorie treat. Try using evaporated skimmed milk instead of whole milk or cream. You can also use less cheese if you use a variety with a stronger flavor like Gruyere or Fontina. Chicken pot pie  Mark Bittman offers a great recipe for this true comfort food, which is typically full of fat in other recipes. Check it out here. Other substitutes
  • If a recipe calls for two cups of pasta, use one and add more vegetables.
  • Replace one cup of sugar with 2/3 cup and add extra sweetness through vanilla, sweet spices and fruit.
  • Cut fat from baked goods by replacing fat or oil recommendations with Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin or applesauce.
  • Add thickness to soup by adding pureed beans or split peas. It’ll make your soup creamier, more filling and add fiber and protein.
Think about improving your nutrition by adding instead of omitting. Add more vegetables to vegetable soup or throw in a few canned pumpkin cubes (keep in freezer and use as needed), throw some shredded cabbage into a salad and add dried fruit to a stew or chili (dried plums in a beef stew and tart cherries in chili are excellent). Look for more tips on making your calories work for you in my new book The Active Calorie Diet. Enjoy and stay warm. -Leslie Have a question for Leslie? E-mail her. (Please write "Ask the Sports Dietitian" in the subject line.) NOTE: Due to the volume of mail, we regret that Leslie cannot answer every e-mail. And for more guidance on fueling and diet, check out Leslie's Sports Nutrition for Coaches.
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