Marathon Parenting

I usually run three to five miles each morning, and that takes me about 25-45 minutes. A few weeks ago I was staying with my parents and taking my typical daily runs. I run early in the morning and even though it seems like the height of Summer, it is still dark when I run. My step-dad would watch me go each morning as he is an early riser also. And evidently he kept track of how long I was gone as he watched me arrive safely back ‘home’ each morning.


I honestly didn’t realize that he noticed the time that I was away for my run.


Until I took my long run that weekend as I’m training for a marathon.  So, I left my parent’s home at 5am and ran and ran and ran. It was dark and I admit I don’t love running in somewhat strange places when it’s dark…but this is small-town, middle-America and my hometown, so I assumed that I was safe as I headed out to run 90 minutes or so.


But pretty soon towards the end of my run a black car slowed down as it approached. Adrenaline kicked in and a quickened my pace with a force that I didn’t know I still had in me as I was tired as I approached the end of my long run. But soon I heard a familiar voice “Buff?” And then the window of the car was down as it pulled next to me and I saw it was Jack, my step-dad…still in his bathrobe with a concerned look on his face. “I was so worried about you.” He said. “You are usually home much sooner.” And I laughed a guilty laugh and said “I guess I forgot to tell you that I was taking a long run today.” Not even realizing he was paying attention to the times of my run nor when I returned.


But he did, because he is my dad.


And then his worry and concern turned to the voice I remember from my teen years “Damn straight you did, young lady! You need to tell me what time you’re coming home so I don’t worry! Damn kids!”


And I apologized like a 17 year old sneaking in late, and told him that I’d be home in about 10 minutes.


Jack drove off and I continued my run with a smile on my face, a shake of my head, and a new skip in my step, just knowing that my parents were still looking out for me. But in that moment of overwhelming gratitude of safety, I realized that it never stops. This parenting gig.


Sure, they move out at 18 and go to college, get jobs, buy houses, have children, and buy minivans…but they are still your kids. Parenting is not a moment in time or a hard ending after 18 years. No parenting in a marathon. And I guess the worrying never stops.


I mean sure, they need not tell me what to do or how to live my life nor buy my groceries, or tell me how to raise my kids.


But if they want to worry about their 44 year old daughter when she takes off an early morning run…well, I welcome that and accept any kind of lecture it may bring. Especially if it comes from my sweet dad driving a Camry in a bathrobe.


Speaking of marathons…My training is going well! Twin Cities Marathon is coming up on October 6th and I’m up to a long run of 14 miles and feeling amazing.


On my first day of training – about a month ago, I made this video after my first long run, and I admit I was worried when I returned from my run as I did not feel great. I’m now amazed by how much stronger I feel just after a month of training.


Sure, I may not break any records and honestly I’ll be happy with a 4:30 finish where just a decade ago that time would’ve depressed me. But it’s not about the race day or the’s about enjoying the journey…just like parenting…it never ends.


And I’m thankful.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, and fashion expert - and ruler of my own little universe(very small). Aren't we all. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    I was hoping you’d talk about your training a little bit! I’m super jealous by your running time. That is one of my motivations for running right now….so when I have kids I can squeeze in a workout and be okay with whatever time I get in a race because I’ve done the race distance before.
    katie recently posted..8 Weeks Until Irongirl Duathlon

  2. says

    I think you’re awesome and I KNOW you’re going to rock that marathon.

    You have such wonderful parents. It’s no wonder YOU are so awesome. #fangirl
    Alison recently posted..Do

  3. Melanie H. says

    This post was so touching, brought tears to my eyes! When we become parents it is easy to forget that first we are children. It is easier to picture always loving our kids with that fierce parent love than it is to think of our parents loving us like that (even though I know it in my head)…wonder why?
    Congrats on your marathon training! I have no desire to run anywhere for anything, but I admire those who do!! What a great accomplishment!!

  4. Ginny says

    Nice blog! You are right, we never stop being parents! We will always care. Love you and wish we could be there for your marathon, which by the way, you will do great.

  5. says

    I love that your Dad went looking for you. That’s a glimpse of what our futures will be like. In 10 years, then in 30 years. And I especially love your commitment to this sport, this race, and your healthy attitude of acceptance about your time. I need a lesson in that. Accepting that I won’t be as fast as I was a mere 3 years ago. I enjoy the journey. Have to relish the outcome too.
    Bethany recently posted..Comment on The Tale of Two Moms by godsake

  6. says

    It’s so true! They’ll always be watching out for us and caring about us, no matter how old we (or they) get.

    I’ll never run as fast as you do, but I can cheer you on! Good luck in October!!
    greta recently posted..Sharing the Day. #iPPP

  7. Beth Culverhouse says

    You are right about always worrying about your children. Mine are grown (2 in their late 20s and one is 32-yikes)with babies of their own.. but I still worry about them. They are wonderful adults and for that I am thankful. But I’m still concerned for them. Just being a mom, I guess.

  8. says

    My parents did the same thing (sorta) when I went to my H.S. reunion! I was thinking about posting about it too, it was so funny! (treated me like I was STILL IN H.S. – ha!)

    And good luck with you’re training. I”m just trying to work back up to a 10K! :)
    Elaine A. recently posted..I just couldn’t stay away…

  9. Leigh Ann says

    When I was pregnant with the twins, my grandparents were visiting and my grandfather said something similar. He said as a parent you never stop worrying about your kids, even when they’re in their 60s, and he laughed and guestured towards my dad. :)

    You are a rock star, marathon lady!

  10. says

    You neglected to mention that you run those miles before the rest of us get up. And that you don’t sleep or eat, shower and look better than I do by 8:30 a.m.

    Also, I read this. Sitting on my patio.

    That’s outside, ya’ll.
    anymommy recently posted..Feel the six coming

  11. says

    You have a great dad! As parents I think something chemically changes in our bodies to make us become more attuned to our children in ways we aren’t connected to others.

    And if that sounds a little clinical, I’m thinking of just the other day when I complained about looking terrible in a picture, and my dad looked at me the way he did when I was six and said with a big grin on his face, “No. You’re cute.”
    Andrea recently posted..A Post of Our Recent Family Vacation in 9 Pictures, Using Only 9 Words. Except My Words Are #prettylongbecauseIliketouselotsofwords


  1. [...] Marathon Parenting I have to admit. There are times when I wish that I could fast forward life, particularly on days when the boys are being particularly challenging. I start thinking about when they move out of the house and go to college and how I will then be free of them. Except I won’t. A parent’s care and concern never ends. Tracy’s story is a sweet sweet testament to that. [...]

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