You know what they say, “Once a runner, always a runner!” It was true for me. Well, maybe not a ton in University, or after my knee surgery, or a good 6 months while pregnant and recovering from baby #1, then baby #2, and then there was baby #3!
Okay, so there have been some struggles to find time to get out running through the years, but I kept at it, started over many times, and now I am a proud Running Mom! Let’s face it – it’s not easy being a busy mom and finding time for fitness!
My life is no different from other busy moms with a husband who travels and a work from home office with a great view, but no childcare! Getting out my front door for a quick run without kids is very tricky, which means if I am going to stay a running mom, I have to get creative.
I run to my child’s soccer game while the rest of the family goes in the van! Or I drop a kid at a birthday party and run around the block 17 times until I can pick her up again. I even hire babysitters to come for an hour after school or on the weekend. I negotiate play dates for 45 minutes with the moms on my street so I can sneak away. Any alone time I saw in my schedule, I put on my running shoes!
Running happens because it has always been a priority and as moms with long to-do lists, we have to make our health a priority and find those precious windows of time in our busy days.
Three of my proudest achievements, after the birth of my 3 daughters, are crossing a half marathon finish line with my husband and each of our daughters in a jogging stroller when they were just 8 months old!
At the time it seemed like a crazy idea when my husband and I discussed doing a ‘fun’ far away half marathon. It took commitment to a new level when we signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n Roll half Marathon happening 7 hours away and just 8 months after the birth of our first daughter.
Getting in training runs meant doing whatever I had to do to find the time. I started with the run/walk with her in the jogging stroller for 3km and once I could run 3km without stopping, I added 5 minutes every week. I would run 40 minutes twice a week with baby, and a “long” run on my own every weekend.
Within a few months, I was running 2 hours and ready to try my first half marathon. We ran that race in 2 hours and 36 minutes of pouring rain with an 8-month-old snuggled in a jogging stroller. Not the funnest 2 hours ever, but we did it and my baby has a finish line photo and a medal to prove it on display in our house.
I was hooked.
12 months after that first race, I had my second baby girl and my elaborate training program started again! This time it was a bit trickier to fit in running as I was not a double stroller kind of girl!
Eight months later, my husband and I crossed the finish line at the Ottawa half marathon in 2 hours 20 minutes with our second daughter on a beautiful sunny day. She too has a finish line photo and a medal hanging in our house.
Then we decided to have baby #3. I was going to be 38 and the mother of 3 babies, the oldest not yet 4. When the heck would I ever run again? But we were committed so we signed up for the Quebec half marathon just 8 months after her birth.
Whatever it took, I was going to make it happen. I got up early, I ran in the rain, I ran in the cold, I ran when I was tired and I ran when I would have rather sat and had coffee with my family. I took my babies to the local YMCA and put them in programs and babysitting so I could run on treadmills.
We crossed that finish line in our best time yet with our third daughter and she too has a medal and a finish line photo. I proudly display my babies’ photos and medals and talk to them often about how great they were in those races. And now all 3 of my ‘babies’ are excellent runners.
Finding time to fit fitness in wasn’t always easy, but setting a goal and following through with it showed my daughters that it takes dedication and effort. My #1 priority is to be a healthy role model for my children…even if it means running to swimming lessons!
Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who has worked out her routine through years of school mornings. She blogs about raising healthy kids at RaisingHealthyKids.co. Find her on Facebook, Pinterest or follow on Twitter.