Just another runner. That’s what I was when I neared the finish line of the St. George Marathon on Oct. 5. Three hours and 8 seconds out on that racecourse made me just another runner in a sea of many. It was a hard pill to swallow, and several days later, I’m still choking it down and hoping my mom will crush it into tiny pieces and add sugar and water to make it taste better.
For the past few years, I have really struggled with where I fit in the running world, and if I even do.
As a competitive athlete most my life, making it to the higher ranks of Division I college competition and then to “elite marathoner,” I have based a lot of who I am on my ability to compete with many of the best athletes. I have won many local races, and podiumed at even more. And I say this only to add context to what I am about to say.
Like many of you, I struggle with what I want to be, and if that goal aligns with what I really should be. I have a hard time striking a balance between being an example to my children of never letting go of dreams, and deciding if it even matters that I reach my goal.
As a mother, it is a hard thing to let personal goals go, even when you know that it is all part of being a parent. I know that sacrificing your own needs and wants is crucial in raising children who will hopefully do the same when they become parents.
Even so, the urge to magnify my talents still remains strong, and is certainly second to that of my desire to be there for my children.
Running does not and has never made me a better mother, but being myself has. I am a runner. I enjoy taking time to hone that craft because it is a huge part of who I am.
I revel in the feeling of running fast, and getting faster. As introverted as I am in most public situations — mostly ones where people are looking at me — standing on a podium is oddly awesome, and I miss it.
We shall see what the future holds for this 37-year-old mother of nine, and “just another runner” may be where the bus stops. But know that deep down inside, there is a girl still choking down that pill… or spitting it out as she cruises toward one more podium finish.
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine, who writes for many local and national publications. She finds solace at home with her family and logging miles anywhere her feet will take her. Many of her writings can be found by searching “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. Contact her at email@example.com.