Welcome to Lessons from the Master’s, a series where we interview Master’s runners who offer wisdom on how to balance life, from work, kids and other demands while continuing to rock the world of running! Meet Kelly Edmondson, a Strong Runner Chick who teaches us invaluable lessons throughout her many years of running and gives us a glimpse into life as a Master’s runner.
1. Please introduce yourself! Name, town, career, running events/distance:
Kelly Edmondson; Cincinnati, OH. I am a teacher at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. I love to run just about any distance and have raced everything from dozens of 5k’s to 12 marathons and every distance in between.
2. How did you start running?
Four years into our marriage, my husband and I already had four kids – two sets of twins who were two years apart. Before children, I was an English teacher in a Washington DC public high school and I genuinely loved my job. But I decided it would be best to stay at home with our children, which was amazing yet challenging as all moms know! I missed teaching a ton and needed to do something for myself. So I bought a treadmill and when the kids would nap, I would run. And before I knew it, running was an integral part of my daily routine.
3. What is your favorite part about running?
Ok, I have few “parts” to mention. First, I relish the time alone with my thoughts, the time to be “selfish” and think only of myself. Some of my most creative lesson plans came to me while running. Second, I love being part of various runner communities, such as this wonderful one I just found — Strong Runner Chicks. Lastly, I feel fortunate to be able to push myself and test my mental and physical fitness. A quality morning run allows me to get through the day’s more mundane tasks with a smile on my face.
4. What is your life like outside of running?
Although no one’s life is without challenges, I feel like I have a pretty darn good existence! I genuinely love my work as a teacher at a community college that is a half mile from my home, and I generally welcome going to work. Our kids are at great ages (11, 11, 13 and 13) since they are largely independent but still enjoy being with my husband and me. And my husband is a quality guy who also tries to make a difference in the world. But our kids are busy and my husband travels a ton for work, so I teach during the day and play unpaid Uber driver at night. Basically, life is full but good.
5. What’s been the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in your running journey? How did you overcome it?
I have a recurrent injury that is a result of some problems that occurred while giving birth to my son. I will have long stretches when I run pain-free and happy; but then, despite my preventive measures, the injury resurfaces and I have to treat it – through ART, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc. So, I cannot say that I have fully overcome my biggest challenge as I’m constantly in battle with it.
6. What has being a mom taught you about running? And likewise, what has running taught you about being a mom?
Both have taught me invaluable lessons about patience and endurance. In both running and motherhood, patience is critical. We have to do the small things on a consistent basis to reap the big rewards. In running, that means doing drills and strength work and all types of runs so that we can eventually have an amazing race. In mothering, that means being there for our children, listening as they talk endlessly, taking care of their needs on a daily basis, etc. so that they become quality people whose company we enjoy. In terms of endurance, both running and motherhood require a skill that I refer to as “running within our fatigue.” Mothering and running are exhausting! But we have to keep going, so we learn how to parent and run in spite of our fatigue.
7. What does being a strong runner chick mean to you? How do you embody “strength” in your own life?
Being a strong runner chick and a strong woman mean taking on new challenges in my sport, my work, my family and personal life. As a runner, it means trying new distances or workouts, even though that makes me nervous. With my family, it means planning an adventure, such as a family trip to Australia that we just took, knowing that there will be bumps along the way, but diving in nonetheless. And in my work, it means being there for my students, many of whom have exceptionally difficult lives.
8. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Celebrate your successes, even your seemingly small ones, instead of just moving onto the next goal. And, appreciate everything your body does for you. At this point, that body has birthed and nursed four humans and run thousands of miles so it definitely deserves some love and respect!
9. Any other words of wisdom?
Be kind – to yourself and others. To paraphrase a famous quote attributed to many wise people, we all are fighting our own great battle. So we should never add to anyone’s burden, even or own.
10. How can we connect with you? Blog, social media, etc:
I love Instagram, although I am guilty of infrequent posting. My handle is: @kellyedmondson18
**As many moms may be able to relate to, I have very few pictures of myself (running or otherwise) since I generally am the one behind the camera! So I have attached two pics from a recent marathon that illustrates the fact that I’m generally a happy runner! The other one is of my hubby, daughter (Maddie) and me before a race since I love when we all race together.
Thanks to Kelly for sharing her words of wisdom!