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My Biggest Marathon Motivation: Running Alongside Mom

Elizabeth Traynor 

During my first marathon, I was paced by a much more experienced runner. Someone who smartly advised me when to hold back and when to put the pedal to the metal. She acted as a de facto cheerleader as I nervously toed the starting line, and matched my stride up particularly steep hills—silently providing motivation to keep on moving. In a way, being my guide was a role she'd fulfilled throughout my life. But that's the best part about this running buddy: She's also my mother. (Read: Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon)

She's always been my fitness inspiration—banging out miles on the treadmill before heading to work, and reserving weekend mornings for long runs. Growing up, whenever I felt under the weather, she taught me to push through by entering the world of running, and exploring that world with her has been infinitely rewarding.

It's her I have to thank for my commitment to physical activity, good nutrition, and personal wellness—all three of which were expectations she'd set for me. When I began to make these priorities in my own life, I had the lucky advantage of being able to pick up the phone and get my mom's expert advice instantly.

Together, we've conquered several races and our teamwork has given rise to the hashtag #MilesWithMom. We've even completed the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon marathon together! (Read: Running for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide)

Running a marathon is no joke, but doing it with your mother is an entirely special experience. We stayed together for 20 of the 26.2 miles, alternately making each other laugh and cheering each other on. The advantage of being in sync with someone you're effortlessly connected with can't be overstated. She knew when I was struggling, without me having to spell it out. She knew when to give me a mid-race pep talk, and when to urge me to forge ahead on my own. She calmed my nerves the night before the race and was my first sweaty hug at the finish line.

The day we both nabbed our Philly medals—her third marathon, my first—ranks as one of the best of my life. For 26.2 miles, I got to look over my shoulder and see my best friend and inspiration matching me stride by stride. That's what I call some quality mother-daughter time.