Some of you might be getting sick of hearing about running, triathlons and health from me, and I could understand that, but I have a hard time containing my excitement about it. Maybe I am so excited about it these days because I can actually do it the way I would like for the most part. There was a time in my life (not too long ago) when I was not able to run or exercise. While I was pregnant I was restricted from exercise, because I was high-risk. It was a difficult time, because life as I knew it changed. People didn’t expect me to run or race nor did I have the stress relief or health benefits I had become accustom to as a long time runner.
When I was in elementary school it was discovered that I could run fast and so from an early age I have always been identified as being the blonde girl that could run. My hair was ultra blonde back then and I had the eyebrows to prove it (they are still barely visible now). I must admit I didn’t like it sometimes because I believe there is much more to Lora Heyl (my maiden name, Erickson now) than people knew. I wondered why I wasn’t given the talent to be a pop-star (I love to sing and dance, in the shower and around the house that is). But running seemed to be my identity and that identity followed me through high school and college as I ran for several different Universities on scholarship. Running paved my way to a college degree and has now allowed me to promote health and share my passion for it on a much larger scale and I will always be greatful for that. Being known as a runner is fine and dandy but when life changes and something you have grown accustom to changes it’s hard to know how to respond. While I was having children running was no longer my identity. Sure, I did it to keep in shape between children like a lot of moms do, but I didn’t race so nobody really expected me to win races anymore. It was different and in some ways a relief.
Unlike many of my former college running team mates, I was not able to keep running during pregnancies. This stop-and-go type training makes it difficult to perform at a high level when competing so I resigned myself to running to stay in shape rather than compete during those years. Matter-o-fact I could be seen casually strolling across the field in my “Moms Jeans” at the soccer games with my little ones hand-in-hand as I toted them back and forth to the nearby park keeping them entertained while “big brother” was playing soccer. I was your average mother cheering for her child and sipping a Capri-sun on a blanket out on the field. And there is nothing wrong with that, but I do remember one mom asking me once, “Are you Scott’s mom? Gosh, you look so different.” This was her nice way of saying “Didn’t you used to be fat?” This was after I had my third boy and lost the 48# pounds I put on with that high risk no-activity gestational diabetic pregnancy. I knew there was an athlete in me waiting for the right time to be able to surface and race again and that time was coming. I was training for my first triathlon at the time and my body shape was beginning to look like an athlete again. Finally my outsides were matching my insides. I had flown under the radar long enough and it was time to allow myself to be all that I have been designed to be which is a runner and athlete.
I knew for me during the years I was having children that it was not the right time to pursue my athletic career. It was time to take the care of my body (restrictions and all) so it could be the vessel to get these children to earth and so I could full-fill my lifelong hope of being a mother. The road was hard but the rewards are priceless. I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything, and I would happily (well, maybe not so happily) go through it again to have the cute little ones that I am enjoying raising now.
Click to view a video of my family (it took a lot of work to get these little ones here, I am so proud of this cute little family)
During those hard years of not being identified as a runner I was able to realize that I really didn’t mind being known as a runner or athlete. Although it is not always easy to feel the pressure of sponsor obligations, fulfilling my own and other peoples expectations, balancing work and family, get my training in and help others reach their health goals; it is what I was designed to do. I know God gave me a talent for running and teaching/coaching for a reason and honestly I feel best when I am pushing myself to be better and helping others to do the same. I knew at an early age that health promotion would be a part of my life. It is what I am driven to do; it is what I want to do; and what I have the passion and energy to do. I have fully embraced this identity now and I don’t think I would have the same affinity for it had it not been taken away from me for a time. I believe things happen for a reason. I am proud to call myself a runner, triathlete and coach. It is what I was designed to be.
Coach Lora Erickson