Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inspiration from an IronMother

I love this quote.  It is so scary and overwhelming to take that first step, but you will never know what you can achieve until you have the courage to try.

Earlier today, I read Dimity McDowell's Runner's World feature on her epic IronMother race last summer.  I'm an avid fan of Dimity and her partner in crime Sarah Bowen Shea, the founders of Another Mother Runner.  I followed Dimity's training via their blog, and I vividly remember watching her finish her incredible IronMother journey.  Having tucked my older kids in bed for the night, I snuggled on the couch with my one-month-old baby and streamed the race feed on my iPad.  I was glued to the screen waiting to see her tall frame come down the final stretch.  When her triumphant face filled my view, I cried tears of joy for a woman I'd never met.

I'm sure my husband thought the tears were typical postpartum hormones, and I'm sure hormones played a role, but I still feel choked up today thinking about Dimity's terrific struggle and her ultimate triumph.  As I sat nursing my sleeping baby, I felt awe, excitement, joy, and an overwhelming urge to conquer my own challenge.  So soon after birth, my body was not yet ready to run, but my mind was willing to contemplate future challenges.  The IronMother planted a seed of hope and possibility in my foggy, sleep-deprived brain.

One month later, I laced up my shoes for the first time in 10 months and began the Couch to 5k running program.  It was a run that was simultaneously blissful and painful, empowering and humbling.  Every inch of my body ached during the 60 second run intervals, and I couldn't believe that running would ever feel comfortable again.  While my body screamed in protest, my mind felt free and liberated.  "Smell the fresh air.  Watch the sunrise," it said.  "Enjoy these moments with no one's needs but your own."

In that pre-dawn hour on a muggy July morning, I felt just a taste of Dimity's finish line victory: the aching body and triumphant spirit, the tears of joy and exhaustion, the joy of completing something that felt too difficult to start.  Since that run, I've logged countless miles, and I feel stronger than ever both mentally and physically.  All because an IronMother planted a seed of hope.  Thank you, Dimity, for giving me the courage to dream.