We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. ~ Anais Nin

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down in front of a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

These quotes are favorites of mine, and they resonated with me this past year when I wrote an especially personal essay for Tales From Another Mother Runner, a book released this week.

As the first quote attests, there’s a certain kind of savory satisfaction that comes with re-visiting times of your life through writing. It’s also a process that can teeter toward the painful — in that bleeding-at-the-typewriter, healing kind of way. Ultimately, there’s the finished piece you’ve worked hard to complete, and in this case I am really, really happy with how it all turned out (even as I also feel exposed and vulnerable and a little scared, too). My piece is among 22 essays featured in Tales From Another Mother Runner, the third book authored by my friends and mother runners Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. (If you aren’t by chance familiar with their previous books — Run Like A Mother and Train Like A Mother — definitely check out their site Another Mother Runner. They’ve created a vibrant, engaging community on Facebook, too.)

It makes sense, though, doesn’t it, that an essay for a running book could be so personal — I imagine that many (all?) of you reading could share stories of the ways running has impacted your life, changed you for the better and set you on a course toward the very best version of yourself. All of this is what you’ll find in this new book. As for my essay? It centers on my marriage, specifically a tough time in our marriage and its aftermath, but really it’s about how running played such a critical role in a challenging season of my life … how this sport has transformed me in unexpected and life-altering ways. I’ll leave it at that. I’d love for you to read it yourself (and send me a note to let me know what you think, if you’d like).

TFAMR cover hi-res

Which brings me to this: I’m happy to have a copy of Tales From Another Mother Runner to give away. (You can also order copies here — great gift for your best running friend!) To enter to win a copy of the book, I just need one thing from you: a comment at the end of this post about what running means to you, and if you’re willing to share, how it’s changed you for the better. One winner will be announced next week here on the blog. The giveaway starts today, March 5, 2015 and ends Wednesday, March 11. 

When I received my copy of Tales From Another Mother Runner, I couldn’t put it down–it’s packed with heartfelt, inspiring, honest and brave stories by talented writers and runners. As the subtitle states, it’s also filled with “triumphs, trials, tips and tricks” from the entire mother runner community. You’ll laugh, you’ll nod your head in agreement, you’ll feel lucky to be part of such a life-affirming sport.

I know you’ll all love this book.

You can read a bit more about my running and writing journey in this post featured on Another Mother Runner »

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18 Responses to “Running toward a better life: my essay in Tales From Another Mother Runner (plus book giveaway!)”

  1. Heidi Bray

    I started running last year just to see if I could. (And I did!). I fell in love with it and kept on running. It became my stress release when in a matter of 6 months, my youngest was diagnosed with high functioning autism, and my oldest with anxiety. I need to burn off that crazy! It’s helped me become so much stronger, both mentally and physically. I feel more prepared to manage the chaos. I’m also enjoying finding ways to pay it forward, helping other moms find ways to burn off the stress too.

  2. I can’t wait to read the book and your essay! You are truly inspiring. Running – well you know I call myself a cyclist first! – but I have spent many rainy, rotten days running the trails at Mud Lake and doing a lot of healing there over the loss of my mother. There’s something to be said for a sport that can hurt and heal at the same time!
    xo, Kandy

  3. Michelle Hall

    What does running mean to me? – It means (proves) to me that I can believe in myself; I’m worthy! How has running changed me? – Ummmm “many” pant sizes – ha, but really the real change is: I’m no longer waiting for life to happen; I’m running it!

  4. Dawn Milmine

    To me running is an escape. When I step out the door, I am “free” for those brief minutes I am pounding the pavement. I no longer have to me wife, mom or employee, I am ME, and I can go wherever I want for as long as I want. I let my feet lead and when I return, I am a happier ME than I was when I left.

  5. Jamie Klop

    Running to me is the one thing in my life that I can and completely for myself. Often times, we feel pulled in so many directions – to be the best mom, wife, employee, church member, coach, chauffeur, CFO, CEO, and the list is endless. In all of the above, I often feel like somewhat of a failure or at least that I’m not giving the best of myself in every situation, as I’m spread too thin. I project on those surrounding me that they are constantly disappointed in my “shortcomings”. When I run, it’s simply for me. I can feel free and accomplished. Now that I’ve been running for a few years, I definitely feel the difference between a good and bad run, although I choose to believe that there is no such thing as a bad run. Every run means your putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward and the lifelong mental and physical benefits are immeasurable.

  6. Theresa

    Thanks for this opportunity Heather, you are very inspiring and I always look forward to your posts on running!! To me, Running means to never have to feel like I’m going crazy again!! :) I had only ran in high school, I guess just because, never really figured out why, maybe just to be a part of something. But, a couple years ago I decided to give it a try again, with my sister. I had gained lots of weight from 2 pregnancies and really did feel like I was going crazy mentally and physically and nothing else was working, so I figured what the heck. I haven’t looked back since!! I feel better both mentally and physically and lost the baby weight!! I’ve ran 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons and full marathons and even did my first 50k last summer!! Running makes me feel like I can conquer anything :)

  7. Julie F.

    Running means being a stronger, more confident me. Running has shown me that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I want my son to see his Mom as an example of what a strong woman is. I can honestly say that running changed my life, as many who run can. Because of the confidence I gained through running I take more chances, stand up for myself more and live more freely.

  8. Jennifer Green

    Running to me, means I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I have overcome the thoughts of “you can’t do this, it’s time to stop” and listened to my heart to keep on running. Running is time for me to destress, become healthier. I have met many great people who are now friends because of running. I love the running community.

  9. Natalie Yuncker

    Running is everything and then some! There is nothing better than getting to go out for a daily run and enjoy the seasons we have in Michigan. Because of running, I am now a stronger, healthier, better version of my previous self. I’ve met so many great friends through running who I wouldn’t know otherwise. It’s also allowed me to travel everywhere for races and see places that you would never know of or think of visiting.

  10. Katie Ford

    Running means clearity to me. I am a busy mom, wife, and small business owner. I love my life, but before running I didn’t have anything for just me. Running is a time where I can check out and clear my head for a bit. When I come home I’m calmer and happier me. Running had also introduced me to many new friends. I’m proud to be a Michigan runner girl :-).

  11. Running is a chance for me to sit on the sidelines and cheer! I am not a runner (too much bouncing!) but many friends are and I would love to give your book to one of them! I have run in a solo and relay triathlon, and I’ve done an inline skate marathon, so I’m familiar with what it takes. Can’t wait to read!

  12. Running to me means freedom to be myself. It means that for a moment, I am simply me. I am not the patient’s mother, I am not the one in charge of finding socks, making lists, and filling a family calander that never ends and always overlaps. It means I am not the woman that forgot to bring fill in the blank yet again and I am not the one always running late for work. For a few moments, I am just me. Running has made me stronger, calmer, more capable, and able to face whatever comes my way.

  13. I’ve been running for 15 years. It has been my stabilizing force, my consistency through moves around the country, a marriage ending, health issues, surgeries, a new marriage beginning, children being born, and career changes. Despite the turbulence of life there is a place I can go to in my mind during a run that is constant, that brings me back to center, and reminds me of the me I want to be.

  14. You know, running for awhile was something I had to do to check off my To Do List… I challenged myself to run the TinkerBell Half Marathon in 2014 as something on my “Bucket List” Then I ran Avengers with my husband last November. Now, I am finding that running is one of my Go To stress relievers, but also a way to regain control of days that my emotions and depression get out of control. Everything can be going crazy around me, but I can control lacing up those shoes and heading out the door – even if it is just for a mile.

  15. Heather T

    Running means many things to me now that I’m a Mom to 3 girls. I have been running for 24 years. It started with cross country and I fell in love. Running has always been there for me in trials and triumphs of life. No matter where I am, I can always run. Now as a Mom, it’s my peace, quiet, sanity, “me time”. Running makes me a better Mom, wife, person.

  16. Kristen M

    Running is how I re-charge and test my limits. I would have never imagined at age 38, with three kids, that I’d be running my first marathon! I give credit to the mother runner tribe for helping me believe in myself.

  17. Krista S

    Running initially was a way for me to deal with grief and loss, however it has become something I now cherish. It the chaos of life it offers clarity, peace, and the ability to “let things go” by just lacing up and stepping out the door. It has also brought some of the most wonderful people I could ever have met into my life!

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