Book Review: My Mommy Runs
When I arrived in Fredricksburg for the Zooma Women's Texas Wine Country Half Marathon earlier this month, I expected to buy a long-sleeve tech tee at the expo. After going through the merchandise, I made the decision that I needed to "earn" my tee - I would only buy the shirt I liked if I got an unlikely PR. With my last PR in 2014, I thought I'd definitely be saving some money.
Further down the Zooma tent in the Marketplatz, I stumbled upon the book, My Mommy Runs, for sale. I immediately went to purchase it, as I've NEVER seen a book for children about their parents' running interests. Heck, I'd never seen a children's running book at all, and my two toddlers have more than 100 titles in their robust literary collection.
The cashier kindly told me that the author, Matt Sorenson, was here today meeting runners and autographing copies of the book. My inner-journalist came out, and I found myself talking with Matt until I nearly missed my dinner reservation (which would have been a big faux pas for carbo-loading on race eve). He signed my book with a sweet little poem for us: "May you race with grace and your stride with pride." I hoped I'd make him proud the next day.
After reading through the book most nights with my kids since I bought it, I can conclude that My Mommy Runs is a book that every #runningmom needs to own. It doesn't matter if she runs 5K's or marathons, a novice or an expert - Matt truly understands the complicated and rewarding relationship between a busy mother and running, and then illustrates this bond in a meaningful way that her children can understand and learn from.
Not only does the book speak to the health benefits from running, but it also verbally and visually describes the other basic human needs that running can satisfy for many women, such as social needs self-fulfillment:
The book starts out with, "To be filled with joy, like when I get a new toy, my mommy runs." A few later examples: "To help a friend win a race, with no need for second place, my mommy runs. To run for charity, or to have more clarity, my mommy runs."
My almost-three-year-old daughter knows when I go running. She sees me in my gear and screams out, "Mama's goin' runnin'!" in the cutest voice ever. To be able to read to her about it and reinforce some of the reasons I run are invaluable, and will help me to encourage her to become a runner as well someday.
Most importantly to me, he notes the sacrifices that mother runners make to hit the pavement or trail for their workouts:
"With a long list of to-do's, she'll still lace up her shoes. My mommy runs...To be at her best, to care for me and the rest, my mommy runs."
That last phrase couldn't ring more true. I did get a PR the next day in the half marathon, and, despite the soreness, I felt more refreshed than ever and ready to take on more challenges motherhood will bring (and yes, I bought my tech shirt).
Matt and I stayed in touch and realized we had aligning missions within our brands. Please read our interview below to hear more about the Austin-based author, runner, husband and father. Also, the book makes for a perfect stocking stuffer! To receive 20% off, use the code FTM20 on the website and post your reading/running experience with your kids!
FitTravelingMama: What inspired you to write My Mommy Runs?
Matt Sorenson: Like a lot of people I know, I've always wanted to write a book, specifically a children's book. My wife and I are runners and have included our children in our running, but were looking for something to help us communicate the "why" behind our running in a fun and age-appropriate manner and to help encourage them to be active. When we couldn't find any children's books about running, I got the idea, why not write and create our own, satisfying my long standing desire to write a book and meeting a need we saw. It's also been rewarding to include our children in the writing and publishing process.
FTM: Why did you focus on the maternal figure in your first book?
MS: I focused on the maternal figure for a number of reasons, but the two main reasons are 1) my wife is amazing and should be celebrated every day, and 2) moms are the main purchaser of children's books. It's definitely a niche product and market, but it's already clear that the book is resonating with a wide range of individuals across the country.
FTM: Why is it important to you to teach kids about running?
MS: I believe running is a fairly accessible activity that not only helps you exercise and take care of your body and mind, but it is also a sport that lends itself to building community and positive relationships. Moreover, you learn a lot about yourself as a runner in setting goals and progressing towards them. I hope that our children find the same thing through running or whatever physical activities they gravitate towards.
FTM: I read that you fostered and adopted your oldest son. I’m an adopted child myself. Were there any parallels between the journey to get your book published and fostering to adopt?
MS: Oh boy, where do I start :) One of my life mottos I learned while being a foster parent is "expect the unexpected," and I had to remind myself of that constantly throughout publishing My Mommy Runs. In both experiences there were so many firsts, unknowns, delays and surprises (good and bad). I've also grown to appreciate the saying "the only way out is through" more and more through adoption and publishing and I hope that our children have started to learn this as they've been along for the ride as well.
FTM: How has running changed your life? Tell us your PR's!
MS: For me personally, the running community has often been my tribe and source of closest friends. Talking about running is how my wife and I first met at church, when I lied to her about my plans to train for a marathon. I had every intention of pursuing her, but not the marathon distance.
From track and field teams growing up, to the amazing guys and gals I have logged countless hours training with, I have met so many amazing people through running. My personal records in the half marathon and marathon are 1:21 and 2:58, respectively. I'm not a naturally gifted runner so these achievements have taken a lot of hard work and dedication, not only by myself but from my wife and family who have been beyond supportive.
FTM: I like how the book goes into why mommy runs besides the obvious health reasons. The book does a really great job of displaying how running can satisfy other needs. Can you elaborate on this?
MS: This was definitely our intention, and one of the main reasons I had over thirty "mother runners" review the book in the process of creating it. Since everyone runs for their own reason, I tried my best to have a wide-range of topics so that runners of all types would resonate with at least one line. What I didn't intend, was for the book to make some readers cry, in a good way. In the past few months since publishing the book, I've met people at races or received messages on social media where they share how and why this book has brought them to tears, often triggering emotions or a moment of personal revelation. It's incredibly rewarding to hear this and I'm so glad that the book is not only engaging for children, but for adults as well.
FTM: What are your future plans as an author?
Selfishly, I wanted to create a book to celebrate us dad's out there fighting the dad bod through running :) The next title that is almost completely illustrated is My Daddy Runs. Same idea and format but completely fresh lines and illustrations. Beyond that, I would like to create a more general fitness book focused on the child compared to the first two books with the parent as the focus. If anyone has any collaboration ideas, I would love to chat about them and welcome anyone to reach out.
Follow Matt on Instagram @g5active. This article was written through a commission partnership with the author. All opinions are my own.