Mountain Mama Runs: Join Her at the Charleston Marathon

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Bored? Lack motivation? Want to lose a few pounds? Curious if you can run 26 miles? Train along with Mountain Mama this fall for the January 2015 Charleston Marathon.

I walked into a work meeting with a huge smile on my face.

“What’s got you so happy?” a colleague asked.

“This!” I slide the marathon training plan that Thomas Minton created for me after asking a series of questions like the last time I ran, how far and fast I ran, and what were my marathon goals. I stammered my way through answering, pausing and shrugging a lot because I simply don’t think about running much. I lace up my shoes when I don’t have time to paddle or bike or go to a class. Running had become my default workout.

“You’re excited about running?” she asked with an expression like she’d sipped rotten milk.

“Yep!” I’m beyond excited about training. And that piece of paper with dates and distances felt tangible, the way it started with a manageable distance even for me –
four miles – and then increased over months to twenty and twenty-two mile runs. I had my doubts about running a marathon, but that sheet of paper provided reassurance, seemed doable even.

I’d gotten the itch. The one that leads to booking plane tickets to Kathmandu or Patagonia. Or ditching a professional job to guide kayaking or instruct skiing. But with my bank account balance hovering rather pathetically in the triple digits, I realized that if I wanted to glimpse what lay beyond a new horizon I’d have to take a different approach.

So when the Insanity instructor at the YMCA announced he was running the Charleston Marathon in January and asked if anyone wanted to join him, my hand shot up. No matter that I didn’t run regularly. Or that I didn’t know where I’d fit long runs into my already jam-packed days.

I figured marathon training might provide the perspective I craved, pushing my own boundaries. I started daydreaming about the person I’d become. I knew that running a marathon wasn’t going to change me. Not all at once. But I thought about all the long trail runs, and the places my brain would go trotting through canopies of leafy-oxygen-producing-green lushness. Maybe I’d come up with an idea for my next book out there or the iron will to linger in the place of discomfort, when my lungs and legs burned, trusting that on the other side waited a running epiphany, the knowledge that I could do it. I imagined the respect I’d develop for my own legs, carrying me so far all on their own. Perhaps I’d improve my eating habits, considering how to best fuel and nourish my body. And I counted on all the new friends I’d share laughs and groans with over the miles, running buddies who would motivate me to cross the finish line.

If you’re reading this and wondered where the journey of marathon training might take you or just want to cross a marathon off your bucket list, train and run a marathon with me! With each mile we’ll glimpse new horizons within ourselves, crush the boundaries of what we dreamed possible. Everyone who runs the marathon will receive a Blue Ridge Outdoors t-shirt after the race.

Stew on it. Or register already. The marathon weekend offers something for everyone so bring your friends and family – a half marathon, a 5K, and biking events. I’ll be announcing long trail runs in the Asheville area soon and will be dedicating my posts to running-related pieces. If you have any running-related questions you’d like me to address in posts or just want to let me know that you’re in, email me at

Can’t wait to run with you!

Mountain Mama

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