It was 2010. I was at the Wauwatosa Public Library. A grossly stuffed bag laid at my feet, books spilling over onto the floor as I searched for ‘one‘ more that would give me the inspiration I was looking for. It had been a very long time since I had done anything creative and I was stocking up on books about collage and altered art.
I would drive home dreaming of a spot on the couch with a warm cup of tea and fill those books with tiny strips of paper, bookmarking just about every page in hopes to find that my creative juices still existed. The reality of it being that the books would sit, piled upon each other, glaring at me every time I passed them by snickering “I told you so“. Until the day I would have to yank out all of those little pieces of paper only to return them back to the library for some other Mom that was looking for life answers in the Dewey decimal system. Seriously, who was I kidding.
The book that would soon inspire me wasn’t even the book I was even looking for, but of course. It was looking for me, I wasn’t looking for it.
There it was, stuck between two books about altered art, I looked at it twice before it practically jumped off of the shelf at me. “Run Like a Mother“. It made me laugh because in my head it read “Run Like a Motha….“, as in ‘get away, run far, keep going, maybe they won’t notice you’re gone until they need clean underwear”. I had no idea it was about running, only 20 year olds run, right? Not 40 year old moms that were looking for a little corner of the world to themselves. I was certain it had to be about something else. And anyway how do Mother’s run? I had no clue that they even ran much less how they ran.
It was the first book I put on my nightstand to read that night. I was intrigued, but I never related it to myself because I was not a runner. For me it was a bit like reading a travel book. You learn the language, get the to know the people, learn about the “off-the-beaten” path and someday you hope to visit.
I would soon finish the book, catching myself smiling throughout the day remembering things that were shared in the book, but that was as far as I got. Though now I knew that negative splits, fuel-belts and body-glide were not props for one of those movies you get from behind the curtain at the video store. Wink, wink. Phew that could have been embarrassing.
So I returned the book to the library and moved on. It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 when my husband was offered a job in Colorado that it would come back to me. It came back to me so quickly that you would have thought it was always on my mind. “Hey, I think one of those authors of the running book live out West“, I said to my husband. (That’s how discreet my desire to run was at the time, I could reference ‘the running book‘ and my husband knew exactly which one it was because it was the only one I had read).
The thought wouldn’t fade away so I scrambled to the laptop and looked for the author’s bio’s, “Oh… Portland, but that’s pretty close to Colorado, isn’t it?” I yelled down the hall. Then I screamed so loud that my husband came running. “Dimity lives in Colorado!“. It was meant to be. I quickly and naively proclaimed, “If we move to Boulder I will run with Dimity!“. Just as fast as I proclaimed, Tony reminded me, “That’s great hon, but you don’t even run”, the slump in my shoulders tipped him off and he bravely finished our conversation with “… it’s good to have a goal…“.
I soon found msyelf surrounded by boxes, trying to catch up to speed and let it sink in that we were now living in Colorado. I had no desire to finish unpacking so I could figure out how to organize our kitchen. I wondered over to my desk and looked up in Another Mother Runner’s website and shot them a message. I just wanted to let them know how much I enjoyed their book and to thank them for writing it and for helping me see that running was not a private club. I was elated when Dimity responded with an invitation to an Open House. I didn’t hesitate, of course I would love to come. My husband would be floored that I would drive about 40 minutes away to a strangers house and surround myself with a bunch of women that run. Of course my concern was more about my wardrobe and later when it would sink in I would break out in a rash and consider not going, but the pull to go was stronger than the pull to stay. So I went.
I had so much fun at the Open House that I came home and wanted to have one at our home. What a great way to meet women in my neighborhood. I sent Dimity a thank you note and mentioned my own desire to have an Open House and asked how I could get a hold of some of their books and maybe a t-shirt or two. Never did I think that she would so generously offer to come and be a part of it! Dimity was coming to my house. No way! Way.
Logan and Zoe were extremely excited that a famous author would soon be standing in our living room. Logan would prepare his notebook to get her autograph. (He was not here when Dimity arrived and when he came home he shyly took his notebook to another mom in the room and asked her for her autograph, who was not Dimity. In the end he did indeed get Dimity’s autograph and both Zoe and Logan sent her off with big hugs and stars in their eyes ).
So that’s how it all started. A misplaced book, a overconfident and naive proclamation, a thank-you, an invitation, another thank-you, and continued generosity. They all became the dots that connected me to my own path to running. They also gave me a better knowing and understanding that running is for women of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.
Thank you Dimity for what may have felt like a very simple invitation, but really was the start of a new beginning. For me, that moment sparked a new path of paying it forward with kindness. We don’t always know how we fit in the mix of things but kindness always connects people, and always seems to help them get to the next step as they are looking for the ground below them.
It only seemed fitting that I would want to include “Another Mother Runner” items in my Beginner’s Basket. (Thank you DMD for the magnets and bumper stickers to add to the give-away).
The basket includes a signed copy of “Run Like a Mother” by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, a magnet from AMR with Dimity’s mantra “don’t think; just go”, a pair of socks (Wrightsocks with their own anti-blister sytem) and some other goodies like GU packs, Chocolove, Nuun, Justin’s and some sport beans by Jelly Belly. (In keeping with the mission of my blog, combining advocacy with running, I have chosen a few items that support Breast Cancer Research and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
So “like” Miles4Moms on FB and in the comment area type “Beginnings”, and that’s it, you’ll be entered into the drawing. (If you don’t use FB then comment here on this post, thanks!).
Well, maybe that’s not all, if you were here I’d make you ‘pinky-square-promise’ that you will pay it forward, spread some kindness however you’d like. Please share this with your friends that have been thinking about or talking about running. Whether 2 people or 200 people enter to win, it’s like Dimity’s invitation to the Open House, you just never know how timely your gesture is, you could be the dot that connects them to where they want to go.
The beginning, it’s a good place to start.
A winner will be picked on Feb. 13th, entry deadline is Feb. 12, Midnight, MST. Thank you!