While many of us on the team are moms, I wanted to take the opportunity to give a shout-out to our own moms—the women who created us, raised us, tolerated us and now, even in our adult forms, seem to worry about us constantly.
I was reminded of a mother’s amazing ability to fret while on spring break with my family in March. I was in the thick of a tough training block, which had me riding my bike for miles and miles along the highway. The night before my first 80-mile ride I announced to my family at dinner that I would be heading out at sunrise. When I returned from my ride, a bit sunburned but very pleased with my effort, I found my mom in the kitchen looking a little beaten up.
Me: “Hey there, how was your morning?”
Mom: “Terrible. I was up all night worrying about your ride this morning. I had images of you getting hit by some old man in his Cadillac.”
Me: “Mom, I’m fine. Stop worrying.”
Mom: Silence…with a rather annoyed look on her face.
Fast forward two weeks and I’m out in Tucson, heading out on a 140-mile training ride with my teammates. Unbeknownst to me I somehow managed to configure my Garmin so that when I come to a sudden stop it sends a crash alert to my next of kin. So at mile 0.3 of 140 my mother gets a phone call that I’ve been involved in a crash. Eight hours later I’m cruising back to my condo, beaming with my accomplishment, and call my husband to tell him about my long run.
Him: “Have you talked to your mom?”
Me: “No. Why?”
Him: “She got some alert that you had been in a crash. She called me frantic. It’s entirely
possible that you took a decade off of her life today.”
By the time we talked, she had moved from worried to straight-up anger. I apologized profusely and she replied with monosyllabic words. Her anger was palpable from the other side of the country. After a little eye-rolling I got off the phone and went back to the task of refueling from a big training day.
I’m a mom. I know about worrying. I do it all the time. I worry about my kids making friends, being good citizens, falling on the playground, getting sick, and a myriad other little and big things.
But I’ve started to realize that for the moms of endurance athletes the worry is different. Unlike
with my kids, my mother has been forced to relinquish all control over what I do and how I do it.
While I love and respect her greatly, she intentionally raised me to be strong and
independent—which means I do what I want and she is left worrying about me.
And so, to all those moms out there, I say thank you. Thank you for raising us to be adventurous
women who never shy away from a challenge. We love you and will do our best to let you get a
good night sleep free of worry…but we can make no promises.
Libby Schroeder is a SMASH-Dimond team member and trauma surgeon. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, two kids, and dog and is training for her first Ironman this summer!