Training for a half-marathon {and for motherhood’s challenges}


For the last few months, a fleet of Suburbans and Minvans has descended upon my home every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 in the morning. In the chilly predawn hours, these vehicles, filled with empty carseats and some of my favorite women roll into my driveway, their bright headlights lighting up the still-dark morning hours and greeting me as I emerge from my backyard.

This amazing group of moms and I have been meeting together to run and some of us are training for the Women’s Half Marathon coming up (gasp!) this weekend! 

Running Shoes 2

I am by no means the first Scottsdale mom to attempt a half-marathon. Heck, I’m not even the first SMB contributor! (See ALL our amazing half-marathon posts in our running diaries series here) However, for me, this is still a pretty big deal!

Before all this training, I never really considered myself a “Runner”. Occasionally I would hop on a treadmill and jog for 20 to 30 minutes, but I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Now, things are completely different. I now look forward to a 10-mile-run because it will be an adventure! Now, I crave it!

I’m not saying any of this to brag (notice I’ve never once mentioned how “fast’.. er, um.. “slow” I’m running,)  I’m just saying this because I have learned so much from this experience and I really want to share.  I’ve learned all about running shoes, foam rollers, diet and hydration, and my new favorite thing: gu energy gel!

But, far more important than all of that I have learned that I am capable of SO MUCH MORE than I ever believed. All this running has shown me that things seem hard. Then, you do them. Then, they aren’t so hard anymore. Then, they actually become easy.

With every daunting mile I added, last week’s run seems so doable. In so many ways, this is just like motherhood.  The newborn stage used to be hard, then potty training a two year old with a newborn was hard, then 2 crazy preschool boys with a newborn was hard… but as I embark on each new added challenge, the last one just seems so much manageable.

Distance running is amazingly gratifying because it’s so easy to monitor your accomplishments and measure how far you’ve come! I only wish we had such clear indicators to encourage us in parenting! My I-phone running app just told me I ran 30 seconds faster than I did yesterday. If only there was an app that could tell me I handled that public tantrum at Costco much more patiently and thoughtfully than I handled the last one.

When Saturday comes, and the miles still left to run begin to overwhelm,  I will look back on my training for reassurance. I will recall the mornings when I didn’t think I could keep going but I did anyway. I will keep running because my training has proven I can do more than my body and mind may first lead me to believe.

My biggest hope isn’t that I finish this run. It’s that I learn this lesson. It’s that when I feel intimidated by the next difficulty of raising children, I will be able to look back on the years of intense, exhausting conditioning and know that I’m stronger and wiser than I was the day I had my first child.

Isn’t that really why we run? Isn’t that why we really set goals of any kind?

Look back at the goals you’ve met, the tasks you’ve accomplished, the children you’ve raised.  Celebrate how many miles, well completed, rest behind you. Even if you’ve never once laced up running shoes– is there really anything on Earth requiring more endurance than parenting?

Frankly the reality is, as the mother of three children, crossing the finish line probably won’t even be the most challenging thing I do this weekend. On the bright side, as the mother of three, crossing the finish line probably won’t be this most rewarding thing I do either. As a runner and I mother, Oh how far I’ve come!

Good Luck and godspeed to all my fellow mommies toughing it out with me this weekend– be it running on the course or pushing a shopping cart through the grocery store!

This post is dedicated to the awesome moms I run with 3 mornings a week and to Tracy Carson, a former SMB contributor and my running mentor!


  1. Kirsten, I can not believe you dedicated this post to me! I am so unbelievably touched. I love you dearly sweet friend and miss you tremendously. Run the race with perseverance this weekend! You will do awesome! Thank you again!

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