Runner’s world: Trying to keep up with Mom

My mother decided to take up running about a year ago and took to it quickly.

Now, she’s running 5Ks like she’s been doing it for years, is training for 10Ks and will likely run her first half marathon next year.

She’s already competed in several 5Ks this year and won her own age group in most of them, placing high among all women as well.

She was all set to run in today’s Marquette Firemen’s 5K, but after finding out that she has a stress fracture, her plans unfortunately changed.

After running last year’s firemen’s 5K, my mom was already hooked on running and wanted me to get involved. I wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but my husband was interested in running at the time.

So, when my mom asked if we wanted to run with her next year, my husband was all for it, much to my dismay. I reluctantly agreed.

Now, one year later, that race is today and I have not run a yard to prepare myself for what’s going to happen. I’m sure it won’t be pretty.

I feel like I’m on the other side of the looking glass – my mom will now be standing on the sidelines, cheering as I huff and puff my way across the finish line and then spend the next 15 minutes lying in the grass trying to remember what it felt like to breathe normally.

I’m not much of a runner. I used to joke with my friends, many of whom enjoy this terrible form of exercise, that I only run when something is chasing me.

Running just seems so painful. I’ve never seen someone smiling while running, and most people who cross the finish line of long distance races don’t look like they’ve just had the time of their lives. They look like they need to lie down.

But, nevertheless, run I will. I told my mom she had to come trout fishing with me if I ran this race. That’s pretty much all that’s keeping me going.

That, and I don’t want to disappoint my mom, who has been a real inspiration my entire life, but even moreso this last year or two. She went from never running – ever – to this crazed road runner who starts almost every conversation these days with how many seconds she’s shaved off her mile time.

Every week, she’s setting new goals for herself and achieving things I’m sure she thought weren’t possible just a few years ago.

And now, she’s trying to get others to do that too.

Because of my mom’s running, my dad has begun walking for exercise. And now that she has an injury and can’t run, he’s going to swim with her so she can still exercise when she wants.

My dad has always been a great swimmer, but my mother has had a fear of water that has kept her out of even the shallow ends of swimming pools her whole life.

I guess someone forgot to remind her of that after she hurt her leg.

That’s the thing about family, they always keep you on your toes, broadening your horizons and making you do things you thought you never would, or could. They help you have the confidence in yourself that they’ve had all along.

I’ll try to concentrate on that after my legs start crying out for help two minutes into today’s run.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jackie Stark is a Chocolay Township resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is