How Did I Become a Soccer Mom?

For the past 2 weeks, I have been hopping around from one blog to another and have enjoyed meeting new people.  Today is my spotlight day so I am going to start off telling you a bit about me.

Chicago - expoChasing My Dreams – Setting goals and going after them makes me happy.  After my long layoff this year, I still ran the Chicago Marathon and BQ’d.  When I was still on the course, I set one of my goals for 2016: to marathon in the spring and improve my time for a better corral start.

Yummy – My favorite food is chocolate.  I’m pretty good about staying away from it.  Being lactose intolerant helps.  But when I do my own baking and I know that foods are “safe” to eat, I have to really watch that I don’t eat all of the chocolate chip cookies.

Nerd – I am such a math nerd.  I love looking and analyzing data, especially when it involves running.  It’s a good think I teach math.

Toenails – I have ugly toenails – really ugly.  Running has not been kind to my feet at all.

Hot – I love hot weather runs.  I love to sweat.  I hate all of the winter laundry.  Summer laundry is so much easier.

Ice – After last January, ice terrifies me.  When I fell, I broke my jaw in four places. cropped-pw-near-trail.jpg I was off work for weeks and was forced to stay away from exercise of any kind for weeks and weeks.  Even downward dog was dangerous for me to do!  I’m not sure how I’ll deal with running this winter yet but I should know soon.

Asthma – I developed asthma when I was in my late 20’s.  For a while, it stopped me from running.  I tried and tried, but I had asthma attacks that simply wouldn’t let me run.  I go fed up and took asthma by the horns.  Over a few years, I learned to run with it, even in the winter, and can now race as a top Masters athlete in Ontario.

I am a Grade 6 and 7 teacher and, from one day to the next, each of my students has something special that makes them stand out, something that makes them shine.  It could be a passion for a sport, a favorite hobby that they love to talk about and share, or a general excitement that they bring to class.  That enthusiasm makes their eyes shine and makes even the toughest kid smile;  it defines who they are.

Ten Miler - finishMy enthusiasm for fitness and an active lifestyle makes me who I am.  Fortunately, the digital age is still fairly young so I can’t post any pictures from the Richard Simmons’ era, when I was bitten by the aerobic bug that eventually led to me teaching aerobics.  In the 90’s, I needed more of an adrenalin rush so I turned to running and general fitness training – and I haven’t looked back.   Today, if you were to ask someone about me, they would most definitely use the word “runner” in the first two sentences.

In the past 25 years, my running has only been halted three times.  The first was when I developed asthma – induced by cold and exercise (not great for a Canadian runner)  but I spent several years learning how to run with it.   I also stopped running when I was pregnant (my boys are now 9 and 14)  as I really didn’t enjoy running while pregnant .  So I turned to cross-training – mostly stationary cycling and the stairmaster.   My most recent hiatus was this past winter when I broke my jaw while running and, then, had to deal with the deaths of both parents in the spring.    After every “rest” period, whether forced or self-inflicted, I could not wait to get back to the roads.

So it has always shocked me that my own boys have not been into sports.  My husband is an avid hockey player, cyclist, tennis player and occasional runner.  Me:  I run competitively (competitive enough to claim the Canadian 50-54 title for the 8K distance).   We dreamed about raising superkids with both fast-twitch  and slow-twitch fibres, coming from his speed and my endurance.  Nope!

The Littlest Dude (at 4), ready to go.

Over the years, we encouraged both to participate in sports but they showed a combination of low skills and an even lower interest.  They came to races with me, cheered me on, and would race the odd Kids’ event.  We’d see glimmers of potential and a bit more enthusiasm, but the boys kept going back to the things they loved: music and lego.

We couldn’t push them.  I wasn’t going to be “that parent” who dragged a screaming child to a swimming lesson or soccer game.  But I could plan my training with them in it.  I would throw one into a baby jogger or drag them out on their bikes when I ran long.  We talked running around the house a lot but, still, there was no real interest.  All I could do was hope that they would eventually realize what they were missing.

At the beginning of August, like every other August, the two Dudes and I talked about what sports they could get involved with this year.  To my surprise, they both said soccer.  My oldest has been refereeing for the past year and has taken an interest in the game as a player.  My youngest is either following his lead or was bitten by the soccer bug when we watched the PanAm Games.  Either way, it didn’t matter; they wanted to play soccer.  Soccer cleats

At the end of the month, I opened an email: “Coaches Needed for U11 Boys.”  Hmmm…. We had a quick family meeting, a few days to digest the decision and I was suddenly coaching the Littlest Dude’s team.    So now, a typical weekend for us includes one U11 game, one U15 game, a few games to referee and a load of soccer laundry.  This week, Soccer Mom also organized a practice for the team.  It looks like the boys aren’t the only ones bitten by the soccer bug.

“Where are my soccer socks?”  “Can you wash my ref jersey?”  “Who do we play this week?”  Soccer has quickly become part of the regular language in our house.  The boys are excited about it.  They smile when they talk about it.  Soccer: it defines who they are.PanAm Green Screen Andrew





46 Replies to “How Did I Become a Soccer Mom?”

  1. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed this blog post. Not only do I already think your pretty cool, but I mean you love chocolate! Joking. I love when mom’s encourage their kids to shine on their own. I have 3 kids all of which are very different on sports, fitness, and running interest.
    I have a 14 year old son who loves running and is great at it, but tries to fit in with the football/cool kids. So pretty much the only time he does what he really loves is if I force him to come! I see him light up and smile on runs and I wish he would become serious about it. He has mentioned wanting to run cross country, I hope he does. He has run a 10K and a kid triathlon when he was 12.
    My 12yr daughter has asthma and struggles running, but we monitor her breathing and help her pace. She is has run up to a 5K so far. She doesn’t really like running, she is more of a surfer, couch surfer that is. But she has shown interest in yoga and volleyball.
    My Bitty girl loves to run, play soccer, and gymnastics! She is my fearless one! I couldn’t have 3 more different kids. I was considering coaching this year! Do you like it?
    I wish I could run and be competitive, but my body just hates running, though my heart loves it. I find you so inspirational. I am so glad to cyber know you!

    1. Thanks, Carleeh. I am asthmatic and worked to be able to run with it. I have done the same with kids at school who have asthma and want to run. If your daughter has any questions, fire away.
      I love that your kids are so active. Once your middle child grows into her asthma, she’ll find cardio-based sports easier and will be able to enjoy them.

  2. We stay busy with ballet and swim right now! I can’t imagine adding much more to the schedule with work commitments. I just don’t have the energy.

    Also, ice absolutely terrifies me. How scary to your fall resulted in a broken jaw. Fingers crossed for a mild winter this year!

    1. I always thought things would get easier as my kids got older but it is actually tougher. I am also being given some lead roles at school so work has me busier too. Positive stress wins all the time.

  3. Firstly, sorry for my late arrival at your blog! Excuses, excuses. But I love your writing!
    That fall sounds absolutely horrendous. I’ve only fallen once (involving some frost, a branch, and my running buddy), but the only injuries were a bruised hip and a scraped glove (and thankfully not my hand!). I did a bit of winter running in my hometown of Barrie, Ontario in minus 18 and a lot of snow…and that’s why I live in Vancouver!
    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. I lost my mom in 2013 and it was a really tough time. Virtual hugs to you.
    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more from you!

    1. Thanks, Bradley. I use to live in Vancouver and would love to move back. The last time I was there was our honeymoon (that’s how much I like Van; it was the only place I wanted to go.). I missed the boat for Seawheeze – need a runcation to drive me back.
      Yes, the fall was nasty. I was on liquids for a month, and then soft foods were introduced. Fortunately, I only lost a few pounds (but I missed them!). 2016 is my comeback year, starting with an 8k at the end of January.

  4. How exciting your sons have found their niche in athletics! I’m glad. My boyfriend is quite an athlete both physically and mentally himself and he always says how our kids will be all-stars at every sport. Of course I laugh because kids sometimes aren’t always in to what their parents are or want them to be. But I hope that they do find a sport, I was never exposed to sports as a child and as I grew older I avoided them because I always felt so uncoordinated to be able to do them. I had LOW SKILLS in pretty much everything! Even in running, and I probably still do. But I love fitness because you can always work hard to improve. I wish I had been exposed to sports, because I feel like playing on a team and challenging your physical skills really gives you some important exposure and life lessons. I’m glad you found a way to cope with your asthma and I’m hoping for a safe winter training for you! Happy to meet you in the blog hop, and I too hate the cold!

  5. Omg, slipping on ice has become a bit of a phobia of mine, and I got goosebumps reading about your injury. Phobia reinforced!! haha. I ran through the Winter in Montreal last year, but actually signed up to a gym yesterday because the thought of running on ice for another season got too much :).
    Great intro post, will be back!
    Meg x

  6. Great post! I love that you used your name to tell us more about you. I just learned so much! I’m so sorry to hear about your broken jaw. I live in Alaska so slippery runs are the norm and I’m going to be very careful from now on!

  7. Congrats on your BQ in Chicago! That’s an amazing accomplishment. Running hasn’t been kind to my feet either. I do my own foot soaks and creams ’cause I’m too embarrassed to get a pedicure. You’re right about summer laundry -vs- winter laundry. I prefer the hot over cold. Anything below 50 is cold for me.

  8. Yikes Cyn, I can definitely understand why you’d be reticent to run this winter. Do you have YakTrax? Nevertheless, it’s impressive you’ve only had 3 breaks from running over all these years. I’m glad your boys found a sport they love!

    1. Yes, I have Yaks but they are only good in certain conditions. I wouldn’t wear them if the roads are dry. It’s the odd patch of ice – and dark – that are the worry.

  9. Love, love your story! So cool that you are able to manage your asthma!
    I have actually been following your running story for quite some time….before I even got into blogging myself! I love that you coach soccer…how fun!! My dad was our soccer coach growing up and it was alot of fun! I hope my girls get into it some day but if not, that’s cool!

    1. Thanks, Lauren. One of the great things about managing my own asthma is it has helped me be a better coach (cross-country and track) at school because I can work with asthmatic kids and teach them that they can still run.

  10. I’m not surprised you are careful on the ice after your fall. Having to stop running whilst you recovered must have been had.

    I’m vegan so I know what you mean about only being able to eat your own (chocolate) cakes!

    It’s great your two boys have found an activity they love.

    1. The biggest challenge that I am facing is not the ice but running in the dark. I’ve been out a few times at night and, today, did my first solo tempo in the dark. It was a bit slower because I am just that much more cautious of where my feet are landing.

  11. Love that you’re a soccer coach! My father was a soccer player and coach so I grew up with the sport as a kid. Your accident with the ice was scary! That’s the reason I can not run in cold weather climates. I’m clumsy enough as it is and add to that factors like ice and I’d probably end up with a broken jaw too. So glad you’re better!

  12. Coming from the blog hop and so nice to connect with you. I live in Mississippi and girl let me tell you, you could get all the hot and sweaty runs you want 10 months out of the year! You have my utter respect for a BQ in Chicago my friend! Great to meet you!

  13. I can definitely relate to lots of things in your post, most notably your injury this year and your asthma. So cool that your boys have discovered soccer! I went to my first pro soccer game two years ago (in Italy, no less) and came away with a whole new appreciation of the sport.

  14. There’s nothing like seeing your kid’s face light up when they have found a sport they love. You’re a great mom for supporting your kids and jumping in to coach too 🙂

  15. wow! Congrats on your Masters Elite status!!! And best wishes in Boston 😉 I’m not a math teacher, but am a bit of a math nerd. I seldom use my GPS watch to gauge my pace,but instead use good old-fashioned math to calculate my (approximate) pace at the mile marks during races. Truth. And your jaw injury…Holy Ouch! That must have been pretty scary.

  16. I hope my son wants to run with me, too! He’s 3.5 and has started asking to come along :). I’m also lactose intolerant, but I take lactaid pills…I don’t adjust my diet TOO much, but I also am not the biggest chocolate fan (gasp!). I’m impressed that you’re able to keep up with your running in the winter in such a cold climate – I’m much more of a California wimp :). Nice meeting you via the hop!

  17. I love that you coach their team! My dad was always the coach of basically every time from softball to soccer to basketball that my sisters and I played on when we were younger – except cheerleading, he was NOT my cheerleading coach ahahah. I always loved that growing it. It was such a great bond! Keep setting that amazing example for them. It is clearly catching on and that is absolutely fantastic for kids today.

  18. Oh wow, I love your story! So many people with Asthma allow it to control them and let it limit them to what they can do and accomplish and I am sure everyones case is different. But you are a shinning example of what you can do if you work hard at moving through any obstacle life throws your way.
    I am seriously, and I mean seriously impressed with your running. BQ at Chicago? That is such a huge race, and I hear one of the harder ones to BQ in because of it, so I am just all sorts of jealously amazed! A Canadian Masters, wow I bet your an awesome person to just sit and chat running with!
    I also loved the story about how you introduced and active life and the sport of soccer into your kids life. I love parents like you guys are! When I was younger, my dad was a really good marathon runner and every day he would come home from work, change and go for a run. Once or twice a week if we wanted he would let us ride our bikes along with him (if we promised to stay out of traffic and keep up, LOL) It’s those moments that actually taught me to love the sport of running at a young age and keep up with it into my adult life. I have a feeling you’ll and are passing down some incredibly great habits and a totally awesome life onto your children!!!
    On a side note, I actually enjoy running in the heat too, in fact my marathon PR was in a race that had temps into the 80’s-90’s by the half way point and for some reason I apparently do well in heat:)
    Really enjoyed getting to know you better today!

  19. It’s so great how your love of running forced you to figure out your asthma and what an athlete you are! Congrats on BQ, your 8K title, and all the other running accomplishments you have made. My jaw hurts just reading the above. Sorry to hear about your parents’ passing. I cannot imagine. BTW, I was totally there with you during Richard Simmons craze although I was all about Jane Fonda’s workout videos and then onto Denise Austin. It’s cool that your boys found soccer (I say that because I love soccer)! Enjoy your coaching career Soccer Mom!

  20. Hi from the Blog Hop!!

    I too have become a soccer mom as well as a gymnastics mom. Neither of my kids chose football which is so surprising to me since they have been around it since they were conceived-lol! My son now comes home and want to watch soccer and critiques the players-it is really cute. He plays on a U9 team.

    OMG-I am so sorry to hear about your fall and your parents. I am so petrified of running in the winter and slipping. I don’t have an indoor option so often had to brave the weather and the elements last year when training for my Spring half.

    Congrats 8k title winner and BQ qualifier.-that is so awesome!!

    Good for you managing your asthma and not letting it get the best of you!

    The never ending loads of laundry!!! For out fit, active sports family-I swear I need to hire someone to do all of our laundry! I never get a hold of it!

  21. Hi from the blog hop! That fall sounds so scary! I guess living in Florida I don’t worry about the cold much or running in those conditions! I coached soccer one year when my son was little- fun experience! Enjoy it!

  22. Hilarious story about your boys become soccer afficionados. Kids have their own personalities, don’t they? They either love something or they don’t and it’s really good of you and your husband not to force them. But things always work out in he end, I like to say.
    Sorry to hear about your injuries last year. Be careful out there!

  23. Awe! You coach your boys soccer teams? What an awesome way to share your love of fitness with them. I love that you didn’t force anything on them, you let them find what they wanted to do! That’s what my parents did and I truly think it’s the best way to do it. I’m sorry to hear about your jaw – that must have been AWFUL! Your running journey is inspiring and I am so glad to have connected with you through the blog hop! I look forward to getting to know you even better!

    1. Thanks, Rachel. I love coaching; the boys are wonderful and I’m hoping to have a few of them on my team next season. Who am I kidding? I’d take the whole team again.

  24. Hi, I’m coming from the hop. I’m a water skier, and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get any of my three sons interested. They are just different people than their parents, I guess. I did influence my oldest to run – so that made me heart swell. It’s wonderful you are coaching your son’s soccer team. Layoffs are difficult. I’m currently wrapping one up. Congratulations for BQing after coming back from your injury. That’s incredible. I live in the south, so most of my runs are extremely hot and humid — so I appreciate a cold run. Nice to meet you!

  25. Cynthia, the laundry comment LOL Do you teach math since you are so good at it? We have three kids, so I have been “soccer, football, baseball, swimming, track, cross country” mom for years and I would never change a thing. Although all the smelly sports uniforms get their own laundry basket. 🙂

  26. Sounds like we have a lot in common. I used to teach Math and Science to 6-8 grade (so total math nerd) and love CHOCOLATE!! I don’t have asthma, but CF that interferes with my ability to run. I am so glad you were able to learn to manage your asthma and not let it hold you back. Oh yeah, and I was born in Ontario, Canada (Live in US now)

  27. Great to get to know you! So cool that you coach soccer that must be so much fun! I so wish I was a math nerd. math is so painful for me! I was always so envious of people who just got it in math class!

  28. Oh I can relate to soccer mom status! Both my kids play travel and my son also played varsity this year as a freshman at his high school. It was a great experience for him and I have to admit–I do love to watch both kids play! It’s a beautiful game and one I have come to appreciate spectating.

    Good for you for only having to lay off three times in all these years–that’s quite an accomplishment! Here’s to hoping you wont’ have to face ice any time soon.

  29. I had to laugh at your laundry comment. My kids are a bit younger, but holy crap I am so tired of so many more loads! Forget about packing, ugh! It is really nice to meet you!

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