More motivation…


The best thing about lining up with 15,000-plus strangers to run a race, is that everybody is there running for a different reason, but the same goal — the finish line. It’s a well choreographed symphony of insanity and determination, of demons and angels, of paralyzing fear commingling with forward propelling will.

I am here at Disney World for marathon weekend with those strangers. I am also here with women I have known for over 20 years. We live in different states and cities, but our conversations easily pick up right where they left off in 1993. Marriages, children, careers, triumphs, and tragedies have become a part of all of our lives. And now, so has running.

Some have never run before in their life, and are just starting this journey on the pavement. Others are well-seasoned runners. I have run this race alone for many years, then with one friend, then two, three, and now with over 10. All of these women are here today because I have simply said four words to them — You. Can. Do. This.

I don’t ask my running friends why they have chosen to run. I don’t need to know. Anyway, reasons change with the years, as they have for me: baby weight, freedom, consistency, completion, sadness, joy, decompression, depression, liberation, solitude, diversion, elation, selfishness. The reasons at start lines are infinite. But the goal is the same. To finish.


Today and tomorrow there are women here who will finish their first half marathon or full marathon. They will have listened to friends tell them they are crazy, ask them why on earth they would want to run, and joke that they would only run if someone was chasing them (my favorite).

Ironically enough, maybe something really is chasing them. Maybe it is DOUBT. Doubt not just about the miles, but doubt about their lives. Are they good enough? Do they make a difference? Can their average body do this? Their bodies have served them well until now, but an endurance event?

They have forgotten their bodies are amazing machines. Those minds and bodies have made and nourished babies, they’ve cultivated and nurtured distinguished careers, marriages, and life long friendships. But 13.1 or 26.2 miles? How? I will tell you how. They have slapped doubt in the face at dawn, when they tumbled out of bed to go run. They sucker punched it when injury, time constraints, or exhaustion was luring them to the couch and not the treadmill.

They escaped it when it was telling them they weren’t fast enough, strong enough, or agile enough to run a real race. They hid from it when it told them maybe this running stuff wasn’t a good idea after all, when it said they don’t ‘look’ like a runner, when they could literally feel on the backs of their neck the skeptic stares of people in cars whizzing by them as they struggled along. They have tucked it away, running cloaked in steadfastness and conviction. And they have made it here this weekend, to finally kick the doubt to the proverbial curb. You see, there are many, many feelings and emotions present at finish lines. But there is one that is most certainly not there — doubt.

I have run seven marathons. This weekend will be number eight. I still feel all of those doubts, all of them, all the time. I will line up at the start line, surrounded by friends, and I will wonder yet again if I can do this. I will flex my fortitude muscle, swim in a sea of incomprehensible emotions (and runners) and finish something I never thought I would even start. I will meet new people along the route, some struggling, and I will give them a quick “You are doing it! GO YOU!”

I will metaphorically meet others, the charity runners, who literally carry the weight of a lost loved parent, spouse, or child on their backs. We will not share words, only a look, and their spirit and gumption will pierce my heart and tired legs, and will carry me through that tough mile or two. I will laugh at the first timer, giddy with excitement and cart-wheeling by me. I will nod in awe at the grandma, who told retirement to take a hike and started running at age 60. I will give a wink of approval and a wide smile to the overweight woman who feels she doesn’t belong, telling her with my eyes, “You are one of us. A runner. Now it’s time to believe it.” And I will cast a spell on my own inner voices, silencing their ugly dialogue, and opening myself up to the immeasurable grace that the race will give me.

Running. It is a wicked, fulfilling, rebellious, formidable, wondrous, love/hate relationship we have. It is a privilege to know you. But it is more of a privilege to share you. To the amazing women who will see their first finish line this weekend, I say another four words, I. Told. You. So. To those who think they can’t, again I will remind them, You. Can. Do. This. And to those who want to give it a shot? See. You. Next. Year.


Ready to get started? Join the internet’s most popular tribe of mother runners atAnother Mother Runner and pick up one of Sarah Bowen Shea’s and Dimity McDowell’s best-selling books on women’s running- “Run Like A Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Insanity,” “Train Like A Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Insanity,” and their latest release due out this spring “Tales From Another Mother Runner: Triumps, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road.”

Melissa Fenton is a humor writer. Find her in the laundry room, kitchen, or running through a pasture, and also writing about her four sons at 4boysmother and also onFacebook

Day Four – In Need of Motivation

So to help motivate me – my husband and I have developed a sort of contest.  It starts on Tuesday.  We will present ourselves to our children and the contest begins.  It ends August first and our children decide who has gotten in the best shape.  If I win I get a day at the spa (a much-needed day at the spa).  I don’t know what hubby wants but I am sure it has to do with sports, Starbucks and no chores.  But we shall see.  If I am really inspired I will share the before and afters – shout out any suggestions.

Day One

Ran for 30 minutes – job for 1 minute and walk hard for 3.  I have to start slow as I am not a runner and am just getting into shape.  I had a party to go to earlier but avoided the chocolate cake (Costco cake – the best).  Here I go off and running to earn that great jacket.  Send tips if you have them.

Hot Chocolate Run Time

I want to run in this year’s Hot Chocolate Run.  I start my first practice run tomorrow.  I picked the Hot Chocolate Run because of the swag.  They give a great coat, a huge mug, great medals and lots of chocolate!  I am starting with the Prevention Magazine training program – here it is.  I will keep posting and let you know how it goes…


One of my best memories

What started me wanting to run was going to the Columbus Marathon as a volunteer.  I watched the runners go by and enjoyed the festivities and with my good friend wanted to join the fun.  We were volunteering for Nationwide Children’s Hospital at the mile to honor the children who had lost their lives that year.  Not only did I want to do this for me but I wanted to do it for a good cause – to help the children in my community.

What I noticed was that all kinds of people participated in the run.  I even saw participants on their phones while running.  It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it might be.  I want to go, to run, to wear the clothes and to enjoy the celebration at the end.  I am just starting and am working up to a smaller run (the Hot Chocolate Run) but I know that someday I will complete in The Columbus Marathon and can cross that off of my bucket list.  Plus the Hot Chocolate Run has chocolate… Keep in touch by reading my blog and see what happens!

Getting ready

I am going to train for the Hot Chocolate Run with my friend Angela.  But before I can begin to train I have to take some weight off.  Running with extra weight can do serious damage to the body.  Based on several websites that teach beginning running I am going to start with the three basics – clean up my diet, strength training and low impact activity.  My goals for the week are…

1.  Lose 2 pounds

2.  Weight Train twice

3.  Walk daily

Let’s see how it goes so that I can get ready to run!