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When Debbie Campbell spied a group of women working out at a local park, she immediately told her husband she wanted to join them. She also distinctly remembers stating she 'hoped they weren't a running group.' Of course they were. She signed up anyway.
"I fell in love with this inspirational and accepting group of women at my first class," Debbie recalls, "and fell in love with running shortly after." That was just over a year ago, and now Debbie, a member of Eau Claire (WI) Moms on the Run, will tell you joining Moms on the Run has changed her life.
Read more about our conversation with Debbie and learn why she's our inspiring member for November.
Q: Despite zero running experience, we heard you were “all in” — showing up consistently and with a positive attitude. Tell us about a few of the race experiences you’ve done and your latest accomplishment: a six-hour endurance event.
A: Everyone was so accepting and helpful and earnest, that I joined and stayed. I decided I wanted to give running a real try, so I made it my goal to run with Moms on the Run three times a week. I tried my first trail run, and I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? This is running? I loved it so much, being outside with these new friends, the forest, even my tired legs and lungs. It was cathartic. I had participated in a couple 5Ks years ago, walking, but since joining Moms on the Run, have run them, which felt like a subtle but big shift. And to celebrate a year of running, I took a leap and signed up for the Goosebumps 6-hour trail race, which supports the Local Lupus Alliance, a cause close to my heart. I got in 15 miles before my body and my brain were spent. I got to spend the day in the woods, along a marsh, with some of the kindest, most courageous people I know... it was most certainly a celebration. It's wild how your life can change in one short year.
Q: At Moms on the Run, we talk about being #MOTRstrong, What does that term mean to you?
A: To me, the best version of #MOTRstrong I see showing up in my life, and in my Moms on the Run group, is strength of spirit. We support each other, we push each other, the coaches run us all in and keep us moving forward. There is genuine care in this group. Sure, we work on actual strength and endurance, and while that may be what initially drew me to Moms on the Run and a real reason I keep showing up, this fun-loving group of women somehow makes running in the freezing cold Wisconsin winters seem like a blast. They remind me I can do hard things, and that hard things can sometimes feel really good. Even on days when I'm not in the perfect headspace for a run, they've taught me to still show up, and I feel better for it after, every single time. Also, my toddler girl likes to walk around in my trail shoes and say she's "strong like mommy," and I love that my kids equate women with being strong — because we are!
Q: What have you learned about yourself since becoming a part of Moms on the Run?
A: I have learned that I am capable of doing things I would never have dreamt possible. Fifteen miles of running and walking on a misty fall day? Running for thirty seconds felt exhausting that first class. I have learned that a rough day can be turned around by some fresh air, some friends, and some miles under my feet. I have learned that taking care of myself makes me a better, happier version of myself for my family and friends.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering Moms on the Run?
A: Please join us! We are a welcoming bunch, and in my experience, it might just change your life (no exaggeration). My best advice I've learned since starting Moms on the Run is just to start. I emailed my local Moms on the Run group almost immediately after seeing them working out in the park. I joined in nursing bras (I do not recommend those for running!) and old tennis shoes. You don't need certain gear or to wait for the perfect time. I certainly didn't, and I am so glad I jumped in.
Q: Please tell us a little more about you personally (your family, job-in or out of the home, hobbies, etc.)
A: I am a wife and mom of three: our daughter, Adeline, who was born sleeping, and two rambunctious toddlers, Noelle (4) and Silas (2). I work mostly from home and am a technical writer for Jamf. As for hobbies, besides running and toddler momming, I love to read and write, and I practice yoga and Lyra (aerial hoop), Lyra being something I started shortly after Moms on the Run because MOTR taught me to jump right in and try!
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