I'm not unique in any way, really.  My story is not tragic and I admit that the adversity or challenges that I have faced training for races this year including the IronGirl triathlon and Baltimore Half Marathon, pale in comparison to the inspiring and tough women out there battling illness, tragedy, real hardships.  There are soooo many women like me out there (which has kept me going up many hills by the way, so thank you to all of you).  However, this year of training was VERY different than in previous years.  I have completed 5 triathlons in the past, 1 marathon, 4 half marathons, 3 ten milers, and various 10ks and 5ks-too many to count.  I pretty much have always trained alone, raced alone, iced alone, recovered alone (besides the massive amounts of support and sometimes coaching from my husband). 

Having always led an active life, I wondered how it would be after giving birth to our daughter in January of this year. It was a lot harder than I imagined!  Putting your body physically back together (OUCH, I mean did anyone else’s pelvis still feel miles apart?), fitting in time to train & sleep, being a new Mommy, fighting off hormonal swings, being a supportive wife & teammate, going back to work full time (thank goodness I have a good sleeping baby) and holding it all together is tough.  I have learned that those challenges are hard enough and I am thankful I have my health and husband as my greatest support systems.  This year, kind of unexpectedly, I have also found such a loving and inspiring network of active moms, running moms, endurance moms (ALL OF YOU) that have inspired me to keep moving forward.   I no longer feel like I am training alone, racing alone, recovering alone.  This new camaraderie, network, encouragement and love filled a void that I didn’t know existed in me, when life threw me a major challenge (even the happiest and most amazing challenge of having a baby).

I train, I run, I race to be stronger for me, to be stronger for my family, to be a role model one day for my 9 month old daughter! 

Here’s to all of the SOLE SISTERS out there and to mine….

T2M2R Guest Blogger, Stephanie Blades
JenX
10/5/2011

Well said! I can't agree with you more about running. While I certainly don't have the dedication you have, I still enjoy getting out there and getting a run in as much as I can.
The challenges of motherhood have been a blessing and the most challenging days of my life. Getting out and feeling the pounding of my feet on the pavement let me clear my head and get some much needed alone time in. Or in a lot of cases, allow me to bond once again with my good friends that I used to run with everyday.
You are doing an awesome job as a mother, friend, wife, etc. You are an inspiration to me!

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Liz
10/5/2011

Great blog! Thanks for sharing! You are an inspiration!

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Kerri
10/5/2011

Great Blog! You are such an inspiration and a wonderful role model for your daughter.

Good Luck in 1 1/2 weeks @ the Baltimore Running Festival.

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Kristi
10/5/2011

Great blog entry Steph! I know Adrienne will grow up to be a strong, loving woman just like you!

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Amy
10/6/2011

Great job on the blog. I can't tell you how impressive to me that you are back competing in races so soon after Adrienne. Best of luck in the half marathon in a few weeks!!

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