Every marathon mom has her own story of how she became a marathon mom. Each story is equally inspiring.
Meet Danbury resident and single mother Daphne Mills, 42, who lost 111 pounds. She ran her first marathon, the Bi-Lo Marathon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in February. She also completed four half marathons. She works as a social worker for the Division of Public Defender Services-Juvenile Court. She also works for Weight Watchers as a receptionist and ambassador.
Q: How did you first get into running? A: Early in my weight loss journey I started walking while my daughter had soccer practice and dance classes. This was my main form of exercise. A dear friend, Donna, encouraged me and actually challenged me to enter a Mother’s Day 5K with her. So I started intervals of walking and running.
Q: How did you lose the weight and how does running play a role in helping you to stay fit? A: I joined Weight Watchers in 2009 weighing 257 pounds. Weight Watchers showed me how to make healthier choices and how to still allow for some extra indulgent foods in moderation. Running provides a superb cardiovascular burn that seems to offer a significant drop on the scale.
Q: What was your first race like? A: Initially I was a nervous wreck. As the race started my anxiety increased. Just before reaching mile 1, I became angry with my friend for getting me into it. I literally cursed her throughout the race. Completing those three miles was torturous. However, after I crossed the finish line I could not believe that even with all my struggling, anger, and moaning I finished. What a phenomenal sense of accomplishment! I had tears of joy and gratitude for challenging myself. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Q: Why do you run? A: I run because I can. Once upon a time I never would have imagined I would be a runner. I dreaded walking across a room. My knees hurt. My feet hurt. Knowing that I’m able to physically move in a way that I never could in the past and feel good while doing it is exciting.
Q: When is your next race and what is your future running goal? A: My next race is my half-marathon anniversary race, the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon, on April 14 in New York City. Last year, I completed this race in 2:32, and this year I hope to finish in 2:10. My next full marathon is in October in Chicago, Illinois, and I would love to improve my finish time from my first marathon, which was 5:45. Now that I have an idea of what 26.2 miles feels like, I’d like to push myself to dig deeper.
Q: What is your advice for those who would like to begin running but feel scared or have self-doubt? A: Pat yourself on the back for taking that first step towards becoming more active. Know that anything worth having requires hard work and patience. Start slow and build on one day at time. Keep a written journal and photographs of your progress because there’s nothing more exciting than seeing proof in black and white of your hard work and dedication.
Are YOU a marathon mom, too? Be proud of this and whenever you’re asked to tell your story, share it!