I don’t think I talk about my family much on my blog… But since Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were plastered with celebrations of mothers, I figured today would be a good day to talk about mine. While I have loved seeing everyone’s pictures from years past where their young mother, clad in bell bottoms or terrible hair is holding them as a tot, I also was plagued with severe jealousy. There are no pictures of my mom and me like that. Yes, my mom is alive. Yes, she ‘raised’ me. But she was not a mother.
Abused as a child herself, my mom flip flopped from being overly controlling to cruel and abusive. To this day, she does not know how to form a healthy bond with another human being, myself included. We haven’t spoken in years and I don’t miss her. While I harbor some anger about her continual verbal abuse of my brother and sister (who are in their 30’s), I have long forgiven her about the way she treated me and made peace with the person she is. I cannot change her, but I do not have to love her either.
The path of my life has been confusing, sometimes messy but fulfilling nonetheless. I don’t know what my life would have been like with a genuine, caring mom but I do know that it wouldn’t be the amazing life that I have lived.
Most years, I run a half marathon on Mother’s Day. I ran it for the first time years ago, not realizing that it took place on a special day. This year was no different and I woke up with so much excitement within me. I knew today would be special. I have been working hard, running hard and training with more purpose than I ever have.
We got to the start line pretty early and there was some time to kill… I know the course like the back of my hand. It’s hilly but there are plenty of long downhills where you can regain your breath and strength. I was so ready that waiting for the start was painful.
I’ll spare you the boring details… But I will tell you that the course has changed. I didn’t run it last year so I am not sure if it changed this year or last. Consequently, I was not as prepared as I thought. I went out too hard and the hills in the beginning were longer than they used to be. I also wheezed for the first three miles. I do not have asthma so I’m not sure what was going on, but I thought I could push through it. That may not have been the best approach but oh well… As a result, I finished a couple of minutes slower than planned, but still… I placed 15th in my age group!!! 15th, my friends. I have a 6th place Olympic Triathlon finish under my belt, but running? I never thought I’d make it to the top 50%. I’ll take this moment to share that my first half marathon was completed in 2 hours and 33 minutes. I can’t wait to say that I have improved on that by an hour. I’m getting there. In fact, I’m almost there.
Not having a real mother has been a challenge, but I try to be grateful for what that has given me. I have strength, determination and independence that would not be there otherwise. I don’t think I would be a runner in different circumstances. I could still be 40 pounds overweight. I could have fallen victim to my circumstances. But every challenge and opportunity has made me better, stronger and, in this case, faster. This year, all of my training, workouts and races are leading up to Ironman and today has just empowered me more.
And who knows… maybe one day I’ll be racing this same race on Mother’s Day with one of my own kids and they will be able to say that I inspired, encouraged and supported them to reach their goals.
I hope you all took some time to celebrate and thank your own mother (or motherly figure). Celebrate who she is, was and will continue to be in your life, whatever role she might play.