Bethany Meyer, from I Love Them Most When They’re Sleeping, is a woman who can turn her head in all directions with speed. Turn four ways for motherhood (of four boys), one way for marriage, another for fitness and 20 other ways for whatever comes up in between all of those. Another Mother Runner, a community that supports and inspires female runners, will be posting Bethany’s journey on their blog as well.
1. How did you first get into running?
Sports have always been an important part of my life, but I didn’t embrace running until my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. I wrote about it two years ago, and every word of it still holds true.
2. What does being a mother and a runner mean to you?
When my first two kids were very little, I felt like they deserved every ounce of me. Foolishly, I didn’t believe I needed any identity aside from being their Mom. Running was the first thing that made me realize that I had been short changing myself by giving all of me away. When our family of four became a family of five and then a family of six, maintaining something that was mine became essential. Chaos is our normal. Running allows me to bring perspective and a sense of humor to the chaos.
3. Do you have a favorite moment from a race, or a morning run?
My favorite moments in running aren’t the PR’s, the strong legs, the much-needed solitude, the reliability of a training plan. The moments I connect with running partners are my favorites. When we open ourselves up to laughter or tears–sometimes both in the span of one mile–it feeds my soul. I’ve grown closer to every person I’ve run with, and that’s what has endeared me most to this sport.
4. What’s your favorite Stonyfield product?
I add the Stonyfield Greek French Vanilla Yogurt to my morning smoothie, but Stonyfield Salted Caramel Greek Yogurt is my absolute favorite!
5. Is there something you can’t run without?
Sugar free gum. I won’t run without it. If I have a long run planned, I will pack extra gum to chew after consuming an energy gel.
6. What does an average day in your household look like?
5:45 Wake up, check email, scroll through FB hoping for a quiet morning laugh.
6AM Tiptoe downstairs, careful to avoid the creaky floorboards with the stealth and reflexes of a ninja. Coffee. Howard Stern and Clawdia (our family cat) are my only company in the kitchen while I pack last minute items like cold water and YoKids Strawberry Squeezers into the kids’ snack and lunch bags.
6:30-7:30 Mayhem. The boys put on their uniforms. I realize boy #1’s only pair of pants that fit his long legs are wrinkled, so I steam them. Six people eat six different things, most of them hot, for breakfast. Forgotten homework is finished. Everyone trips over one another in our house’s one full bathroom. Someone screams. Someone else cries. A door is slammed. If there is no bleeding or egregious unkindness, I ignore it. I brush my teeth, put on my running clothes, kiss my husband goodbye, and get into the car with the boys to drive them to school. Boy #4 screams that he has forgotten his woobie (his security blanket). I throw the car into park and run into the house to retrieve it while boy #1 insults boy #4, who is now crying. Boy #3, upset by the turmoil, attempts to change the subject. Boy #2 is so immersed in his book that he has no idea anything beyond the story he reads is transpiring.
7:52 Drop boys off at school.
8AM-3PM Attend school meetings, exercise (typically run, once a week hot yoga), hit the grocery store, do laundry, prep dinner, compose and answer emails, write. It is the fastest part of my day. Every day.
3:10PM Pick up the boys from school. Arrive with a variety of snacks because boy #4 has the metabolism of his three brothers combined. Boys 2, 3, and 4 play with their friends while we wait for boy #1 to finish soccer practice.
4:30PM-10PM More mayhem. Cook dinner. Attempt to persuade boy #4 into doing his homework, but boy #1 has already coaxed him into playing on the trampoline. Allow trampoline play. These two spend so much time at odds, it’s a rare gift when they share meaningful interaction. Boy #2 sets the table around boy #3, who does his homework without prodding. Put dinner on the table and call the boys inside to eat. Ask them open ended questions about their day. Listen to answers that, in an effort to entertain one another, all contain the word “poop”. Field repeated inquiries about what time Dad will be home. Fatigued by their bad manners, excuse everyone, remind them to load the dishwasher, then get to work scrubbing the pots and pans as they file outside to play soccer. Fill the bathtub. Yell to boy #1 from bathroom window “Time for your bath!” Count five people in the backyard, and realize that my husband is home and engaged in soccer play. “Just one more play!” he replies. Soccer continues. Run downstairs to pack the bulk of tomorrow’s snacks and lunches, 8 bags in all. One play becomes twenty plays. Join soccer somewhere between plays eight and fourteen. Run back inside to check clock. Call boy #4 inside again. Bath has grown cold. Boy #4 passes the point of no return. Screaming and stomping ensue. Boy #1 criticizes boy #4 for the temper tantrum. Boy #3, upset with the abrupt shift in the mood, tries desperately to change the subject again. Boy #2, gloriously unaware, devours the pages of his book. Remind boys 1 and 2 to do their homework. Read with boy #3. Ignore more yelling from boy #4, cross fingers that the volume of my husband’s voice doesn’t escalate to match our son’s. Run upstairs to fill bathtub for boy #3. Sing boy #4 a lullaby. Visit with boy #3 while he relaxes in the bath. Tuck him into bed, sing to him, kiss him goodnight. Walk downstairs and steady myself against the putrid smell of feet. Order boy #2 to take an immediate shower. Demand boy #1 take a shower the minute boy #2 exits the bathroom. Laundry. Wash it, dry it, sort it, fold it, curse it. Tuck boy #2 in, sing to him, kiss him goodnight. Watch TV with my husband and boy #1. Attempt to turn TV fodder into teaching moments for teenage son. Try to be casual about it. Fail. Check on him after he puts himself to bed. He put the kibosh on the lullaby two years ago, but he still allows the goodnight kiss on the forehead. On those rare nights that he opens up, table my exhaustion and listen to him. Go back downstairs to join my husband on the couch. Read three pages of a book before I start to nod off. Go upstairs. Brush teeth, wash face, check alarm. Read more if I can muster the energy. Turn off light.
Do it all again the next day.
7. Do you have a favorite post run snack?
Full fat chocolate milk, Dunkin Donuts hot coffee, and a scrambled egg and cheese
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