My name is Ellen and I’m a 33 year old full-time working mother of a toddler. I’ve always been active and fitness-conscious, but since the birth of my son I’ve been inspired to push myself harder and try to accomplish more. Women are seen by some as the weaker sex, but pregnancy and childbirth are not for sissies–it takes unbelievable physical, mental, and emotional strength to carry and birth a baby. I chose to deliver my son naturally, without any medical interventions, because I trusted that my body was up to the challenge. What an empowering experience that was!

My son’s birth gave me the confidence to attempt a half marathon, something I had been interested in for years but never seriously pursued. In fact, I’d never been much of a runner. I used to joke I’d only run when chased, and the only time I really tried a running program I’d gotten a stress fracture in my hip. Despite that setback, and despite woman with baby boy in poolthe fact that I’d never run more than 5 miles before, in September 2011 I decided it was time to take the plunge.  I registered for the White Rock half-marathon with the full expectation that I would successfully cross that finish line. As a full-time working mom it would have been hard enough to fit training into my busy schedule, but just as I began training my office started mandatory evening overtime and a 7-day workweek. I could have found many excuses to skip my training runs, but I read once that “if it’s important to you you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse.” Well, time after time I found a way, even if it meant getting up at 5 am to run on a weekend morning before putting in a full day’s work, then coming home and caring for a toddler. I remember the exhilaration of my first “longest run ever”, and how great it felt to have finally learned why people speak of the “runner’s high.” Some days I felt great and the miles disappeared effortlessly beneath my feet. But some days I was tired, my legs felt heavy, or I just couldn’t hit my goal pace. Those “just show up” days weren’t the most fun, but I think they were the best training.

After weeks of nervous, excited anticipation, race day came, and with it, cold weather and rain. And I was still recovering from a sinus infection and a lingering cough (which, incidentally, running in the rain does not seem to help!). Clearly, this would be a “just show up” kind of day, but my training had prepared me well for that. I started out with a pace group but ended up leaving them behind and finishing 2 minutes faster than my goal, wet, cold, tired…and already looking forward to my next race.

I did the race for myself, to accomplish a long-held goal that for years had seemed quite distant. But I also did it for my son. There are so many values I want to teach him in life, but 3 that are very important to me are the courage to try hard things, the perseverance to see a goal through, and the confidence to believe in himself. And I’ve always believed the best way to lead and teach is by example. He’s too young to remember how he and my husband cheered me on at the finish line at White Rock, but I hope watching me tackle tough challenges and succeed will inspire him to do the same. Becoming his mother gave me the confidence to pursue my goal, so I hope my example and encouragement will help give him the confidence to tackle his own challenges. I look forward to cheering him on at his own sporting events one day. Or better yet, doing events together.

My next goal is to attempt a full marathon. It’s really challenging, requires a great deal of perseverence, and is something that most people don’t even attempt. Sounds right up my alley.

Irving, TX


One single comment

  1. Rachel says:

    Congrats, Ellen! You are right in that there is much glory in doing something others wil not attempt! I am running my third half and my 2012 goal is to run a full marathon and White Rock may be it!!! Best of luck to you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *