David: I would like to welcome Liz McGarraugh of Texas as our newest contributor sharing reflections, musings, challenges, and the joys of being an active mother in our sport. We are excited and honored for Liz’s interest in sharing with our tribe in a series of articles we are affectionately calling Mud, Miles, and Munchkins.
Runner’s World posted an article on their Facebook page recently about a study done with children and their mothers. The study concluded that children of active mothers tend to be more active than children with non-active mothers. I wondered why anyone would fund a study that seemed so obvious. I then looked back on my childhood.
My mother was not active at all. She never learned to ride a bike and I never once saw her exercise. I played softball my entire childhood, I played volleyball and basketball until high school and then ran cross country in high school (it was a Sue Heck cross country team…no cuts). For some reason my mother’s lack of activity spurred my desire to be as active as possible.
When I started training for my first 50 miler, the weekend mileage was low and I was home in time for breakfast. As the training became more intense, I wasn’t getting home until lunch time. Even though I stay home with the girls during the week, I had a lot of mommy guilt. I had guilt that I was missing something, guilt that my husband had worked so hard all week and now he can’t relax because I needed to run or that my kids were going to resent me because I was never home. They were really silly thoughts, but I think all moms have them.
Then something changed, it finally hit me one morning that my kids were watching me. Morgan was right around three and Milena was one, I would text my husband when I was a mile out and he would bring the girls outside to meet me. Jason said that morning Morgan had dressed herself. She was wearing a bathing suit, shorts, hat and running shoes. She had also asked Jason for a running water bottle. When I came around the corner Morgan was waiting to run with mommy. It was truly an emotional moment for me. My kids think of me as a runner. They know mommy runs. At that point the guilt subsided and I felt that I am a positive role model for my children. I am being the best mom I can be by going out for a run.
I may dream of having my children become Olympic runners or top notch athletes, but at the very least, I hope that my running will inspire them to have the courage to do anything. I want them to believe that anything is possible with a lot of hard work and confidence in their abilities. As parents, we may run to release the stress of daily life, the pain of the past or for our future health, but remember your children are watching and learning from our hard work and dedication. So, keep running.
- Liz McGarraugh