Ironman Inspired: Rediscovering My Running Mojo

Last Thursday night we packed up our subaru with ourselves, kids, dog and corresponding supplies and headed over a few mountain passes to the lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The whole vacation was wonderful. We were surrounded by crazy, excited pre-race-of-your-life energy and beautiful weather. Also, even if I had been in a Detroit alley it would have been fun because I was with my best friend whom I have loved for 20 years. She and her fiancé came up from San Francisco because right before they get hitched he decided to spend 13 1/2 hours swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 2.2 miles. He is a total badass.

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getting ready the day before
And oh how fortunate I feel to have a Lindsay. She makes me laugh, loves my kids and we seriously pick up where we left off…as in we are initially really excited to see each other for the first time in months but then we move through our days as if we still see each other with the regularity that we did in 7th grade.
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We walked all over town, babies bedecked in sunscreen and bonnets, finding nooks to stop and watch and cheer. My kids sat on hips and shoulders, slept in backpacks and strollers as we celebrated totally awesome people push themselves in water, on wheels and, finally, as the sun set, on foot.
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There was a beach break.
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And, an ice cream break.
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At one point I walked with Ruby and found the shade of a maple tree. We were the lone spectators on the block and I discovered an endorphin charged desire to encourage these tired, driven spirits. I have empathy because I have run several half marathons and one full. But most of my empathy comes from two drug-free births. I know that point when you are certain you just might die or at least explode from the pain that twists through nerves and muscle and exhaustion so exhausting you could fall asleep in a hot second just about anywhere. That point when you don’t think you can do it, when you are so depleted and only half way there.
I stood there holding my seven month-old and clapped until my hands stung and energetically said to every person that passed You are so AWESOME. Many kept their heads down and slightly nodded, a few gave a thumbs up and several busted out a smile through their exhaustion. I had tears in my eyes the whole time.
The pulsing energy of the city fired me up. I didn’t bring my running clothes but Lindsay escorted me to a shop and I made a few new purchases. And, whoo dog, it has been years, YEARS since I have bought new running clothes. I went for a run and reconnected with a piece of myself that I have missed. Read all about it in my mama digs column this week, A New Bra and I Run.
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So, our friend made it (!!!!), crossing the FINISH line at 8:30pm! People are amazing.
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35 Responses to Ironman Inspired: Rediscovering My Running Mojo

  1. meg says:

    Wonderful! I have done this race and I can tell you that I had tears in my eyes the whole time. Tears of fear, tears of pride, tears of pain, tears of joy, tears of anxiety and tears of exhaustion. This course is amazing because of, not only the beauty, but all the amazing people cheering you on the entire way.
    Inspiring isn’t it?
    I did this race before the Babylady was born and I did the one in Wisconsin 8 months after she was born. And nothing since.

    Thanks for writing this post and reminding why I actually love to lace up my shoes and GO!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I think the best mom you can be is the mom who knows to take care of herself (physically and mentally) so that she’s around for a long, long time for her kids :-) Running will help you accomplish both.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Nice article/post Nici. I too was a runner/athlete all of my life an now I sit idle with a severe sprain of the left ankle. So I learn to be patient, heal, and then I sew. You go girl. Get those shoes back on. And I do appreciate your thoughts on how your body has changed, but how you appreciate it so much more. I think that a lot of us can relate to appreciating the curves more than we ever have in the past b/c we housed our children and nourished them completely.

  4. Terri Holt says:

    You inspire me to get more into it as well…..what a great article!

  5. darlene says:

    LOVE this! I am not a runner because my knees protest, but you made me want to run!! I am going to get some new shoes and some walking clothes and start walking. It may not be running, but I love it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Melissa says:

    oh yay for you. i love this and can relate if i swap the running for dancing. i know i will get back into it really soon and it will be better than ever!

    you probably looked so cute in your running skirt!

  7. Dana says:

    Such a great post! Thank you!! Running is such a great thing. My kiddos know that mom is much happier after she goes running and are always cheering me on when I get home!! Love it!

  8. Anne says:

    If you want to do any job well, it makes all the difference to have a proper, spiffed up uniform. Glad you’re back on the road – congratulations!

  9. Melissa says:

    The cute running skirt helps, doesn’t it?! I just need to find one w/ some shorts underneath to protect my delicate thighs. ;)

  10. sarah says:

    wait did L already get married? it looked like john has a wedding ring on…?

  11. Laurie says:

    I trained for the Chicago marathon shortly after giving birth to my son 16 years ago. I had the same sentiment, that doing a marathon no longer seemed so daunting, after being in labor for 64 hours. So I say go for it! Go out and run and feel your strength and vitality chick!

  12. mrs chux says:

    There is nothing that makes me SOB more than a race. If I were an actress, I would just stir up visions of a road race to get crying for a sad scene. I get motivated and so damn proud of the people whom I don’t know! Hilarious, right?

    Fun to see pictures of Lindsay.

    Hope you are happy and well. much love, lisa

  13. My bro also completed his first Ironman as well, 14 hours, 26 minutes! But do I want to do that, hell no! One marathon, and my internally-bleeding feet said, “never again!” Half-marathon…yeah, very likely to do those again, those are super fun.

    So good of you to cheer your heart out! Cute bonnets and ice cream shot!

    – iColossus

  14. My bro also completed his first Ironman as well, 14 hours, 26 minutes! But do I want to do that, hell no! One marathon, and my internally-bleeding feet said, “never again!” Half-marathon…yeah, very likely to do those again, those are super fun.

    So good of you to cheer your heart out! Cute bonnets and ice cream shot!

    – iColossus

  15. My bro also completed his first Ironman as well, 14 hours, 26 minutes! But do I want to do that, hell no! One marathon, and my internally-bleeding feet said, “never again!” Half-marathon…yeah, very likely to do those again, those are super fun.

    So good of you to cheer your heart out! Cute bonnets and ice cream shot!

    – iColossus

  16. My bro also completed his first Ironman as well, 14 hours, 26 minutes! But do I want to do that, hell no! One marathon, and my internally-bleeding feet said, “never again!” Half-marathon…yeah, very likely to do those again, those are super fun.

    So good of you to cheer your heart out! Cute bonnets and ice cream shot!

    – iColossus

  17. My bro also completed his first Ironman as well, 14 hours, 26 minutes! But do I want to do that, hell no! One marathon, and my internally-bleeding feet said, “never again!” Half-marathon…yeah, very likely to do those again, those are super fun.

    So good of you to cheer your heart out! Cute bonnets and ice cream shot!

    – iColossus

  18. Emma says:

    I had done nearly 20 triathlons and adventure races before I did the ultimate test of endurance: a drug free birth of a 9 lb 3 oz baby. It is funny, my mind rarely returns to that place, but I had just been recently thinking about the birth and then read your latest post. Your writing brought tears to my eyes. It is wonderful to be there cheering on others as they face those huge physical and emotional hurdles. I love that you acknowledge these feats of endurance in your post.

  19. MILLIE says:

    I’m so glad you were inspired to run again. There’s nothing like it. I enjoyed your story. Beautiful pics, beautiful children, beautiful people, beautiful scenery.

  20. jen says:

    i’ve just recently decided that i need to run. isn’t that weird? i’ve never been a runner. and i just found myself a jogging stroller and shoes (and a bra – of course) and desire.
    and i’m going to do it. i was going to start today but the stroller was a little stenchy after being in someones garage for too long and there was something growing on it. instead we cleaned it and danced in the driveway.
    but tomorrow? i run.
    and i think you are telling me that because i have pushed 3 babies out without drugs … i will be. just. fine.
    right?

  21. I adore that you encouraged those runners with tears in your eyes. That is just the thing that would cause me to tear up. You were a gift to them, in that moment. You recognized their accomplishment and diligence and gave acclaim to their sweat. LOVE it!

  22. Kate from Daisy Js - CdA says:

    Nici!
    So happy to hear that you and your friends enjoyed our little town of Coeur d’Alene. I love the pictures and I love to hear that you were as inspired as I was. My little guy is 6 months old and I, too, have put running on the back burner. I went out on Monday and bought myself a new pair of Mizunos and look forward to signing up for a race or two. The CdA Half in May (next year) is always a good one. Maybe I’ll meet you out on the trail one of these days.
    Happy running, girlfriend!
    Kate

  23. Wesley says:

    Good for you Nici! Get back out there and kick some ass! I love your confidence and your passion to do the things you love. You’re an inspiring woman.

  24. finnyknits says:

    Heck yes, mama – Running is right here where you left it! We’ve been keeping ‘er warm for ya.

    I broke in a new pair of Brooks’ and a safety orange top this morning as my push for the 8mm pace continues. We’re all in our new stuff!

    Welcome back, Running and I have missed you :)

  25. savagemama says:

    Heather also coined the phrase “tucked in” as in tucked into the Northside, which I am right now with an ice pack on my IT band. I’m doing toe squeezes to stretch a strained muscle in my foot and eating like a 16-year-old boy. Through injury and exhaustion indeed. Here’s to you…and your new skirt!

  26. Jen says:

    LOVE IT LOVE IT! I came back to running after my 3rd child was born…..it waited for me patiently and I am so grateful. Running is my haven, my ME time, my friend through stress and sadness and happiness, and my way to celebrate nature and our beautiful land. Congratulations to you, and know that in the future running has the opportunity to bring you closer to your children. Yesterday my teenager and I spent some nice alone time running down a trail…..

  27. Sarah says:

    love this–nothing like a cute running outfit to get you out the door!

  28. Kate says:

    wow! this reminded me so much of hitting the pavement post-annie. i trained with her in the stroller for last year’s 1/2 marathon–and this year- i trained without the stroller, due to annie’s growth spurt=) but it made me excited for the race in a couple weeks–and more importantly, to see annie’s face waiting at the finish line. hope to see you running around the neighborhood!

  29. I am so not a runner, but loved how you evoked the human pain and beauty of pushing your body in a race.
    Well said.

  30. Anonymous says:

    A. I was inspired by your running and how much you love it.
    B. Everyone whose posted here should read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, especially those of you who are nursing running-related injuries. Not only is it fascinating and extremely well-written and reported- but it’s changed my attitude about running and made me reconceptualize how I run. Did I mention that the book is just a great read?.
    C. Dig is a bada** and I only wish I got to run with her more.
    xoxoxo Lindsay

  31. Jennifer says:

    Nice reference to med-free birth. Makes me feel like a three time gold medalist when I think about it. Cool to witness so many in an endorphin rush.

  32. Logan says:

    Running, for me, is therapeutic, meditative and when I’m with my friends, social. It makes me such a better mom. Thanks for the post.

  33. Alison says:

    Running and I used to be close friends, but have also drifted apart as I occupied my body with growing two babies inside it. Currently reading “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. If you can, you should really check it out.

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