On Motherhood, Running and Inspiration

How awesomely inspiring is this photo of my aunt and her running buddies who placed in the top three of their 70+ age group at their favorite annual 5K?

My aunt (in the middle) with her 'golden girls' running buddies
 And before you ask, yes, there were more than three participants in the category.  Maybe I should encourage her to apply for the Oiselle ambassador program 

I’m so lucky to have such inspirational women in my family, the most important and obvious one being my mom.
Old fav photo of us in the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey (she's also inspired my love of travel)

For as long as I can remember, she has been involved in some sort of exercise – most often tennis. 
Mom off to play tennis with our neighbor friend circa 1976

 I’m sure she’d rather not divulge her age, but suffice it to say that she could run in my aunt’s age group and she still gets out almost daily to do some form of exercise.  Even after going through a major knock-down, drag out fight with cancer that she WON.  My mom was diagnosed in February of 2011 with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma when a tumor was found in her brain.  After brain surgery, months of inpatient chemotherapy, followed up by radiation, she was cancer free by May.  May 1st will be the one year anniversary of her totally clear MRI.  Her active lifestyle and attention to her health is without a doubt why she was able to handle the aggressive treatment and come out of it swinging.  She’s back out with her racket, hitting against a wall for now.  But still.

 I can barely recall times when my mom would talk negatively about her body when I was growing up, maybe because she never really had much to complain about.  Regardless, I feel like I’ve been given this gift of not being as preoccupied with how I look as much as with how healthy I am.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint; I want to fit into nice jeans and I certainly went through periods of loooow self esteem: the most notable times being the late puberty years and those lovely postpartum months.  But, it’s not been a nagging pervasive thing that I know a lot of women can suffer from.  I just hope I can instill this same self-acceptance in my kids, especially my daughter. 

I’m sure that there are a lot of people who think of the constantly exercising stay at home mom as the narcissistic type, but that is so very, very far from the truth.  I run because of how it makes me feel – healthy, sane, and strong.  These are handy when dealing with two kids under five years of age!  One of the (many) things I love about race day is the ubiquitous kids dashes that give my kids the same sense of accomplishment that I get when crossing a finish line and meeting the goals I’ve set for myself.  Hopefully they will carry memories of watching me do just that as they go through life.  Or better yet, I hope that my running keeps me around long enough for them to watch me win my 70+ age group.


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