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26 2013

Lace Up For Hunger: Kristin’s Story

Syndicated from: Daily Bread Food Bank

I went out for a run this morning; something that most runners training for any race do regularly, but I had to stop in the middle to change a diaper. Not my diaper, my little girl’s diaper, who had already gone twice this morning.  She’s eight months old and has been my best training partner. I enjoy watching her body bounce gracefully from one side of the stroller to the other for 45 minutes as I suffer through a typical seven kilometre run. And she enjoys listening to me curse as I try to figure out why I keep signing up for these things. I never know what hurts more at the end of a run; my ego or her head. Lots of us know that balancing a running schedule and raising a family is a challenge, even at the best of times.  I’m not one to sneak out of the house at six a.m. to try to fit in a training run.  Mornings and I do not get along. So finding time during the day between children throwing tantrums, playing hide and seek for the sixth time, cooking a meal that nobody likes and wiping a behind is quite a feat in and of itself. And let’s be honest, by evening, no parent has the energy to run, or even think about running for that matter. I used to be faster. There was a time when running wasn’t this tough. The physical activity was still hard, of course, but it was the time you had outside of training that allowed you to both train better and enjoy it more. I still like to run. But, during the past eight weeks of training for the half-marathon for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a race that I’ve done before, it’s been tough. Really tough. Especially when noon rolls around and that desperately needed post-run nap isn’t happening. It seemed like a good idea to enlist some help and support when I initially signed up. I convinced my sister, brother, his girlfriend, parents, aunt, and two cousins to endure the torture of the half-marathon training schedule with me. We share funny stories, eat great post-run treats together and support each other with texts and emails.  I’m not sure they’re as happy as I am to be apart of the support network. Especially when their triumphant text messages about breaking a personal best or finding a great new route, are responded to with a “why are we doing this?”, or a “great, and I slept for four hours last night!” Obviously, as difficult as this training has been and as much as I complain, I do enjoy the hilarity of it all.  Sometimes, my daughter throws a tantrum in the stroller at kilometre four because she wants to go home. I’m in the middle of an eight kilometre loop, but try explaining that to an eight-month-old. So I just let her do her thing, and use all of those strange expressions from onlookers to make me laugh and keep me going. Then there is my honest and loyal three-year-old son, who adds 40 pounds to my already slowly transitioning post-pregnancy figure. He asks me why I’m walking when I take a break, or why I don’t go faster when I’m at my top speed?  You can’t help but embrace the new running experience, even if it isn’t all those running magazine ads make it out to be. Even with all of the added challenges, it still makes me think about the fact that this is a choice I’ve made. There are many parents who don’t get to choose whether they train for a half-marathon. This is because they’re too busy trying to meet basic needs for their families, which is a task that dwarfs even the toughest marathon training plan.  The pre- and post-run carbs that I wolf down to ensure that I never fit into my old running clothes also keep me healthy. I work at Daily Bread in their fundraising department, and realize how important nutrition is to keeping people healthy. That’s why it was important to me to support Daily Bread Food Bank for this run. I am lucky to have enough food for my children, and this way I can raise funds for other parents who don’t have enough. There could be nothing worse than seeing your kids go hungry. I’m now up to 12 kilometres of the total 21 that I need to run for me to become a super-mom. My friends and family have been very supportive, and are becoming experts at telling me that I’m training enough.  I know I will finish the race; it’s being convinced to run the next race that worries me. I just tell myself, “one stroller ride at a time.” As long as my kids continue to hop in, I will continue to run. By Kristin Thomas, Senior Development Officer at Daily Bread Run with Daily Bread’s Lace Up For Hunger team at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Or, support the Daily Bread team and make a donation. Click here to donate or register to run for Daily Bread.  

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