Years ago, when I was quite a bit more public, under a different name, I wrote a blog post. In it, I described why I ran my first ultra. I didn’t think it mattered. But then several people told me how it inspired them to run their first. And, honestly, it’s still a reason for me, every day. It’s the reason I put my shoes on in the morning. It’s the reason I do everything.

For those of you who knew me, know me, will know me, my children are everything, especially over the last two years, as I have embraced single motherhood. I think as parents, we lose what our kids pick up from us. We lose what they see. They see everything. In my case, my kids have seen me struggle far too much and celebrate not nearly enough.

But ultrarunning is still a passion of mine. If I have a chance to let them crew or watch me finish, they are there. They are my best supporters. They tell their schoolmates that their mom can run 100 miles… and it’s satisfying, honestly.

However, for those of you who didn’t know me them, I have chosen to reprint the letter I wrote to my daughters when I first decided to run further than a marathon. I think it is more valuable to me today than it was when I wrote it. The words ring truer to me still.

As always, let me know your thoughts.

Deb

Letter to My Daughters

by dorthybitestoto

Dear girls,

You may find this hard to believe, but I didn’t grow up with very high self-esteem. Not that my parents were to blame. They weren’t. At least, therapy has not yet revealed that they were. My self-esteem was something that I have worked hard on, something that I earned over years.

And now, I’m thirty-five years old, and I’m looking at my three gorgeous girls. And I hope you don’t have to grow up the same way that I did.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in this life is that the human body is capable of handling more than one thinks: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I learned this very quickly when we asked for one child and God gave us three. And thank goodness that happened, because the three of you together, and alone, are the highlight of my life. That lesson is so vital because it teaches us that, when times are good, we can achieve greatness, and when times are tough, we can persevere, and perhaps ascend through the hardship.

This, my dears, is why I run. Don’t get me wrong; I like running. But the running is not about me. The running is about you. Running marathons is a way for me to prove to you in a very concrete way that, in fact, you can achieve greatness in anything you put your mind and hard work into. And that is why, next summer, I will delve into the world of ultramarathons. It’s not to prove that I can. It’s that someday I hope you look back and say that YOU can. I hope someday when your times get tough, you look back and decide to find the strength within yourself to persevere and to achieve greatness. Because showing you that is one of the greatest legacies I can leave you.

I love you,

Mom

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