Samantha’s CBRIII Review #34: Run Like a Mother, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.

So I’ve taken up running. So far I’ve done two 5Ks and am still in the “people who run marathons are pretty much insane” frame of mind, but I catch myself wavering often. I mainly got started as a means to losing baby weight, but I dig exercise so I kicked over into actual enjoyment pretty quickly. Anyway, this book was a gift to me (from my cousin, a mom who runs) and for the most part, it’s done a lot to encourage and motivate me.

Run Like a Mother … is basically a loosely-connected collection of anecdotal essays about the running experiences of the two writers. They are both moms (one has twins) and they are both often in training. So, they write about how they train, how they juggle parenting and relationships and running, and so on. There are also sidebars for most of the sections with additional perspectives from other mom-runners of all abilities.

Overall, this is a great book. It’s motivating and encouraging, and helps you feel like you’re part of a community. It also has a good deal of practical advice, and it’s all written in very down-to-earth (even graphic) language. Let’s face it: having a kid (and then being a parent) can quite often be a graphic undertaking. The chapter on getting back to running post-partum, in particular, was a little much for me. Guess I haven’t quite forgotten about childbirth yet.

I really only have two gripes with this book. The first is that there’s a fair amount of runner jargon. In thinking to myself “I’m going to start running,” really all I did was put on a pair of shoes and head out the door. I don’t know what splits and tempo runs are. It’d be nice if they’d included a glossary. Secondly, well, these ladies are writers, and apparently, they’re doing pretty well at their jobs. Which means that even though they complain about having enough time to get in those 10 miles, they mainly work at home, so they aren’t concerned with, say, a 3 hr. commute. They also probably make more money than some of us do, and additionally, since they write about running, they get paid to do some of their training/marathon-running.

Still, to get back to the motivation and encouragement, it really is a good book to read if you’re a mom who runs. I would actually venture to say that you don’t even need to be a mom; I think a lot of this book would be helpful to any woman who runs. The practical advice and recommendations, given in a very friendly and earthy tone, are truly helpful. The perspectives, though a little skewed, are not those of championship runners, but of average, every-day women who have a lot to do.

It’s an easy book to read; in a lot of ways, it’s almost more reference-like. I am still pretty psyched to be running, but I think that when I reach a point of being less motivated, it will help me to know that this book is sitting on my shelf. These ladies will let me know that it’s ok to take a break, just like they let me know it’s ok to sneak out of the house first thing in the morning for my heel-pounding, sweat-inducing, calorie-burning me time.


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