Lessons I Have Learned from Running Beside My Mom
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
There is something special about a bond between a mother and her daughter. I feel myself appreciating this more as I grow older. The outbreak of COVID-19 has me living at home for a while and one of the biggest silver linings is getting to run with my mom everyday again. So, I decided to share some lessons I have learned by running next to my mom. She has taught me all of these not by word of mouth, but simply by carrying them out in her everyday actions. I think that makes for the best teacher.
Wave to everyone you pass: You know that neighbor that jolts to the other side of the street as soon as he sees you running closer- wave to him. Or that lady on the corner getting her mail in her pajamas- yes, wave to her. Or that neighbor that simply never waves back- yeah, wave to her anyways. Or that stranger that you have never seen before and aren’t even sure lives around here- yes, wave to him too. This sounds simple but practicing it can be harder than you think. It’s easy to look down at your phone or avoid those sometimes-awkward encounters. We are humans and live for relationships with others. I used to joke around with my mom and say, “Do you have to say hi to everyone we pass?” But I have realized this is my mom taking the time to make everyone feel like they are someone to those around them.
Run your race: My mom is fast. And I mean like ran half marathons sub 7-minute mile pace fast. I used to get so frustrated when I would have to tell my own mother to slow down for her much younger daughter. The “c’mon you can’t keep up with your mom” thoughts would swarm over me. But she would always remind me to just run my race. My mom likes to surge a hill to get it over with. I prefer to keep pace steady throughout. In life and in running, people are moving at different paces all the time. Recognize that, appreciate yourself and others for it, and continue to run your race.
Don’t wait for the “perfect” time: You know those days where the weather isn’t perfect, your legs are sore from yesterday, and you have a million other things on your to-do list? Yeah, me too. Run on those days. Because if you didn’t, you might never run. Take the time you have and make it the perfect day to run. Growing up, my mom would run before waking us up for school, packing our lunches, and getting us out the door. This was after staying up late the night before after working a full-time job, taking us to all of our activities, making dinner, and helping with those last-minute projects. She wasn’t superwomen, (although sometimes I think she might have had superpowers) but she just made the time and took the time to run even on the crazy days.
Just Run. I catch myself checking my watch making sure I am on pace and meeting my mileage all of the time. My mom is one of the best runners I know and has never owned a Garmin or any watch that tracks her runs. She just runs. She runs the pace she can on that day for the amount of time she has. There is a level of simplicity to this strategy that I think has made her so successful. So, try a run where you don’t feel any pressure of performing and you simply remember why you love the sport.
Always have running friends. Growing up my mom always had her “running friends.” I see the value of these women as they are still some of her closest friends today. They are the ones you can text at 10pm and say, “Hey want to run tomorrow at 5:30am?” These friends always show up, hold you accountable, and most importantly, are always a listening ear. They also probably know the most about your kids, wear matching running pullovers, or hang 20-foot birthday banners with you. So, thank you, to all my mom’s running friends as you have helped my mom raise me in more ways than you probably even realize.
It’s never too late to run. You are never too old to run and it’s never too late. Just last week my mom and I put our shoe lights on and ran 7 miles starting at 9pm at night. We ran our safe neighborhood loop and there was something tranquil about running at that time. My mom ran that loop at 10pm every night when we were really young after getting us to bed. And believe me, I was that child that took over an hour to finally get her to fall asleep.
When you trip and fall, get up, brush off, and keep moving one foot in front of the other. All runners fall. It’s that rock that you didn’t see, curb that was closer than you thought, or stump that jumped out from the pavement and pulled you down. Whatever it was, it knocked you to your knees. No matter how old you are, it’s a little knock to your confidence. The most important thing about falling is getting back up. So, in life and on the pavement, get up, brush off, crack a smile, and keep moving one foot in front of the other.
Run with your heart, even when its heavy. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was a was 15. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 17. The way my mom carried herself through her treatment set the example for me to follow two years later. She is strong, resilient, and full of joy. She showed me that running can be therapeutic and healing. When I was really sick, I could not run; so, we walked. We walked laps around the hospital. We walked to the café. We walked until I could run again. I have not stopped running since. Running makes me feel invincible and gives me the confidence that I can make a difference in this world. I am combining my passion for running with my desire to give back to the cancer community by running from Baltimore, Maryland to San Francisco, California. My goal is to raise money for young adults fighting cancer and to build support networks that reach all across the country. Run with your heart and never lose sight of hope.
This is just a very short list of the things I have learned from my mom. If you are lucky enough to know Tracey Beason, then you know one of the biggest compliments you could give me is “you are your mother’s daughter.” The world needs more Tracey Beason’s. So, Mom, thank you for showing me these important life lessons during our early morning (or late night) runs. I look forward to many more miles with you!