We have been highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the last 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…
My name is Tai Pherribo Christensen. I am originally from New Jersey but moved to Utah in 1999 and have lived here ever since. In addition to running I love cooking, traveling, red wine and my dog Charley. I have 3 beautiful daughters; Kelsey who is 14, Maya who is 11, and Dylan who is 5.
She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?
Tai: I started running outside in 2013. I was trying to lose weight from my third baby and thought running might help me. I signed up for a 5k and my only goal was to run the entire race without walking. My first run to train for this race was 2 miles and it took me almost 30 minutes. I almost vomited twice. I was so out of shape. Finishing a 5k at that point seemed like a pipe dream. The next training run was a bit better, and the one after that was better as well. Slowly but surely I started getting stronger and faster. I went from dreading my runs to planning my whole day around them. I finished the 5k and ran the entire race! I had always had “run a marathon” on my bucket list, and after the 5k I knew I could do it! Two marathons later and I’m still going strong!
SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother?
Tai: I was not a runner prior to having my daughters. In fact, everyone who knows me from elementary school and high school cannot believe I run now because I was the least athletic person back then! Running the mile in gym class was the most torturous experience for me!!
SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?
Tai: Two words: time management. When you are a mom your time is “shared” time. Whatever you are doing, whether it’s working, driving, carpooling, or running, ultimately you have little people that are priority for the 24 hours you have in your day. You are in essence sharing all of your time with them. If I don’t manage my time well and create pockets where I can fit in my runs, that time will quickly get eaten up with familial responsibilities. I have to make running a priority in order to get my miles in.
SIB: How has having child/children changed your relationship with your body?
Tai: Oh the love hate relationship with our female bodies! I love that my body has carried three babies. All of my girls were preemie and I was on bedrest with my youngest two. Scary months of laying in bed or on the couch, willing my body to keep my babies safe inside and not deliver them too early. You share your body with your babies. I always say the thing I love most about pregnancy is it is the only time the baby is truly mine. I don’t have to share her with the outside world just yet. It’s she and I, coexisting together, forming an unbreakable love. After the baby is born, then comes the “hate” portion of body image for me. I will be honest, I have stretch marks. I have skin that no matter how much I work out, it’s just not as tight as it used to be. After nursing my youngest for 12 months, my breasts looked like wet tea bags!! It was very upsetting for me. I had a hard time excepting the new, slightly used and abused, version of my body. I made a choice to change what I could and work hard on excepting the rest. I have strong legs and arms thanks to running and working out. I am grateful for a body that enables me to hold my girls and be active with them. I’ve accepted the fact that being strong and fit doesn’t necessarily mean thigh dimple free!! Some things are just here to stay!
SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?
Tai: I love the fact that we moms all want the same thing for our children; happiness, security and love. So often times we get defensive over whether we work or stay home, we nurse or bottle feed, etc, but in actuality we all want the same exact things for our kids. Safety. Comfort. Happiness. And above all love. We want our children to know we love them unconditionally and with all of our heart. The ability to have unconditional love for our children is what I admire most.
SIB: How has your children inspired you (in running or in life)?
Tai: My daughters fuel my every step. During my races when I even think about slowing down or stopping, I think of them waiting for me at the finish, smiling and proud. I want my girls to know that if you push yourself, work hard, dream big and plan well, anything is possible!!
SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?
In running I am proud of my determination. I will not give up. I may not be the fastest runner or have the best form, but my resilience keeps me going. My girls have the same determination. They are all extremely hard workers and they push themselves to always be better. They are kind girls who are helpful and courteous. I could not be more blessed to be their mom!
SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?
Do not quit. Know it’s going to be hard. Know there will be days that you do not want to run. Know there will be runs that you feel like a complete failure. Just stay committed! I have found my best runs come after my most epically bad ones. Remember running is quality time with yourself!! Give yourself this time to focus on you and your body!
Fill in the sentence below:
I mom so hard I _________________
I mom so hard I run to accept the things I cannot change and drink red wine to make peace with the rest!
Thanks Tai! Follow her journey on Instagram @ brwngrl_inutah_runs