I’m lazy, yet I’ve completed five marathons. It seems counterintuitive, but I assure you that it’s not. Often, I am approached by others with a question that goes something like this:
I just ran my first 5K, and I loved it, but a marathon is 26 miles! How do you do it?
I always tell people the same thing. If you can run a 5K, you can complete a marathon.
The marathon isn’t about what your body can do – it’s about what your mind is willing to do.
I encourage anyone who’s interested in the marathon to try it (get the okay from your doc first, of course), but today, I want to speak to moms with special needs, because you’ve got a unique opportunity to do something that could have a tremendous impact on you and your family.
5 Reasons Special Needs Moms Should Run Marathons
1. You’ll practice what you preach.
We spend so much time making sure our special kids exercise when they need to and eat what they’re supposed to – marathon training is exercise, and when you’re doing it you have a natural tendency to eat better, too. The kids will notice.
2. You’ll stay sane.
Although I’ve been a runner for over two decades, before Sarah Kate I kept most of my runs to six miles or less (usually a lot less, like three or four). A half hour of exercise isn’t enough to purge all of the demons of Mom Guilt or work out the details of that Letter to the Insurance Company. A training run that lasts two or more hours does the trick.
3. You’ll be empowered.
Daily life has a way of getting you down when you’re faced with a schedule full of therapy appointments and a pile of medical bills. Some days you feel like you’re fighting a never ending battle that you have no chance of winning. Completing a marathon – something that only 1/10 of 1% of people do – gives you a sense of accomplishment that no one can ever take away. The next time you feel like you can’t win, you’ll be able to say “I ran a marathon – I can handle that!”
4. You’ll set a good example.
In addition to practicing what you preach in terms of lifestyle, you’ll also be modeling hard work and physical effort for your children. When Sarah Kate began intensive physical therapy (4 hours/day – 5 days/week – 3 consecutive weeks), I knew it was time to attempt the marathon. How could I authentically expect her to exert that much time and energy if I wasn’t willing to do it myself?
5. You’ll inspire or empower others.
Moms of kids with special needs are often placed on a (well-meaning, but misguided) pedestal. I don’t want to be idolized simply for playing the hand that I was dealt. Sometimes, though, people tell me that they admire me for running marathons, and I love to hear that, because running a marathon is a choice, and one that I work hard to achieve. I love to hear that someone was inspired to take up running because I ran a marathon.
I’ve told you why you should run a marathon, but you may still doubt your ability. Don’t. The one single thing that kept me going in every one of my marathons is the thought of my precious girl, Sarah Kate, who can’t run but never quits trying. She inspires me to keep going, no matter how tough things get, because I know that she would do the same.
Find your inspiration.
Run a marathon.