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Run for Your Lives!

by Katy Killilea


What could be better for a worn-out parent that a sanctioned way to abandon one’s family? When my iPod morphed into a iPhone and my husband was able to call me while I ran, I realized the real reason why I love running. He called, his voice replaced Ira Glass’s in my headphones, and I cracked: WHY are you calling me? I am running. I am LITERALLY running away from home! (“Uh, I just wanted to know if you’d seen Jack’s cleats.”)

Of all forms of recreation, there’s no other that requires so little forethought/equipment/money, and that provides such a realistic facsimile of freedom. You’re alone! Running away from your house! All it takes is the desire to escape and legs. There are, of course, benefits to running other than freedom. But it’s not about blood pressure. The very best part is the act of actually running away–running away until you’re tired and thirsty and long to be back home.


The sanity-preserving effects of distance running, as well as other benefits (endorphins, general well-being, ability to eat large amounts without gaining weight) are dissected and laid bare in Run Like a Mother, written by two mom-runners–one ‘s a hard core competitor (and she also happens to be a nursing expert), one’s not–who both find running essential to their well-being.

While the book has plenty of training information, which I would certainly consult if I ever were training for anything other than temporary escape, the juiciest, most important thing about this book is its discussion of why mothers run, what happens in our heads when we run, and how the day’s run changes everything else. It tells us why, for people who like running, a run makes the rest of the day feel easy. This book is also a lot of fun to read, with pie charts on what to think about while running (10% promising… for the fiftieth time, I’ll make better playlists and delete the tired songs today…2% There’s no chance it’s been 3 weeks since we got busy) and tart commentary on running bras and fashions. Running skirts are like…any other fashion that initially seems ridiculous but later trickles down to Old Navy.

Every mom who runs will find themselves in this book. Meanwhile, plenty of people hate to run but love yoga,  surfing, Pilates, or lacrosse, and I’m sure those activities work in people’s lives much the same way as running does in mine. What do you do to escape?

The details:

Run Like a Mother
by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
2010 Andrews McMeel $15

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  • This book as beena boon to get me to run better; mentally and physically…I even investd in a skirt! Being a larger thighed gal, body glide recommended for the chub rub. In fact, I think they should sell Body Glide with the skirt. That being said, I still love the skirt — brings me (way) back to my kilt days and playing lacrosse.
    I love RLAM. Felt like I was reading a letter from a friend. The authors, very much like Katy Killilea, are witty and so much fun to plunk down with, read and forget the world for while.

  • Loved that you previewed this book to Maria and I, at the time I made a mental (not ever) note to read it, and this is a brilliant reminder. Just shared your review with my running pals, too. But inquiring minds want to know, do you have a running skirt? I love the one my neighbor wears, and we’re jumping on the bandwagon!
    See you this weekend!