Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with Dimity McDowell Davis: Another Mother Runner


True to her word, Dimity came through with an amazing, thoughtful interview. Knowing her life circumstances, I have to say that I didn't expect to hear from her. Since Sarah (aka SBS), her partner in crime and running, broke her ankle, Dimity has been forced to fly solo. Last week after I forwarded the link to the book review, she emailed me and told me she'd answer my questions on a flight cross country. I think once you read this, you'll see that she came through and then some. The original Badass Mother Runners have always been there for the tribe. And this was no exception. 

So here's the interview. Enjoy! And have you read the book review? Linked up? You can find it here.




TTLWH: All of your books were helpful, inspirational, and enjoyable. But I have to say that this book, Tales of Another Mother Runner, was my favorite of all of the three books. I’m always looking for inspiration, and there’s a lot of it here. Which book is your favorite?

DMD: That’s a tough question—like asking me to name my favorite kid. Run Like a Mother got this whole party started, and I love that its tone and perspective grew the roots of the AMR tribe. I didn’t think I’d enjoy writing Train Like a Mother as much as I did; I’m not one for rigorous schedules, at least when it comes to running, but I really enjoyed pulling together the training plans in a way that I knew would work for women like me (some flexibility in the schedule, some fun workouts, plenty of footnotes). Tales from Another Mother Runner was a different project because there were so many voices in it, and I love it for that reason. Getting to work with 21 talented writers as we polished their essays is pretty much my idea of work utopia.


TTLWH: I love how the books make such a perfect trilogy of must-have running books for women. When you and Sarah wrote the first book, did you have plans for #2 and #3? Or did they just evolve over time?

DMD: We had no plans when we wrote Run Like a Mother. Zero. We reluctantly got a Facebook page and Twitter accounts because our (wise) publicist suggested them. After the community started to grow, we noticed how many training questions were popping up—questions we hadn’t addressed in RLAM—so TLAM was born. And TAMR just felt like the right thing to do to celebrate the power of a mile and the power of the AMR community.

TTLWH: The stories in Tales are so inspirational, and you amassed an amazing collection of essays and authors. Of course, I loved Heather’s essay titled Taking the Long Way Home, not only because that’s the name of my blog, but because I’m married to a guy like Joe. Maybe you don’t want to say, but I’m going to ask, if you had to pick one essay as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

DMD: Ugh. Again with the hard questions! It’s too hard to call out one. But I will say, I am especially fond of the essays that integrate “real life” into the mix—and by real life, I mean infertility, affairs, divorce, depression, and other fun topics. Sometimes we—and by we, I mean I—want to separate our lives into little silos: this one is for running, this one is for parenting, this one is for marriage, this one is for speed bumps, etc. The reality is, life is one funky mess most of the time. The more complicated essays in TAMR acknowledge that—and validate how vital a run is to find some space to think, vent, smile, cry, grow, and make decisions. Kinda like a buy one, get one deal. 

TTLWH: Adrienne interviewed me for a story that ended up on the blog about breaking up with a running partner. I was thrilled to have my story featured on the blog, of course! I still laugh when I run by that guy’s house. Anyways, there were so many great stories on the blog that didn’t make the book. How hard was it to narrow it down to the essays that appeared in the book? 

DMD: So hard. I don’t know the formula or the right words, but books are put together in page packets—definitely the wrong word—of 8. And I wanted the book to have a certain flow and not let any section meander for too long. Combine those two things, and I had to make some tough choices. The good news is that I knew we had space on the website for all the stuff we couldn’t fit into the book. Silver lining.

TTLWH: Where do you find inspiration? Who inspires you?

DMD: While I will always admire a great performance—a win, a PR, an ultra-marathon finish—it’s the beginners who really resonate with me. I so enjoy meeting women at expos who are running their first 5K, first 10K, first half-marathon, first marathon. They have this awkward aura about them, like they’re about to be pushed out of a nest. They’re often unsure of themselves, but we, as experienced runners, can sense that the finish line is going to change them. Send them on a path that they could’ve never predicted, and their lives are going to richer for it. It gets me every time.

courtesy of anothermotherrunner.com
TTLWH: Your essay on your struggle with depression was especially poignant. As someone who started running to fight depression and anxiety, this essay hit home for me. How hard was this for you to write? Being sidelined by injury, what are you doing to get your endorphins on?

DMD: I had parts of Defying Gravity in my head for most of the summer of 2014. I’d come out of the worst of it, and I was trying to make sense of the awful winter just past. I wasn’t sure, though, that I was ever going to write it—or include it in the book. I sat down and wrote part of it, sent it onto a few close friends and asked for their opinions. Most were very positive–not the right word, but you get what I mean—about it, noting that they had either felt echoes of the thoughts I had, or knew a close friend who had. Their responses gave me the green light to finish and include it. Being honest in the essay was terribly difficult, but writing it wasn’t that hard. It really helped me process what got me to that suicidal point. When I was beyond low, all I could think about was just being done. I had no interest in figuring anything out except for how not to live anymore. Writing about it helped me rationally put the pieces together—and provided a blueprint on self-care that I need to be diligent about heeding.
Injuries always suck, whether you’re prone to depression or not. When I can exercise in other ways—biking, swimming, strength training—I do and that’s a strong Plan B. I just need to be accountable to somebody. It’s been 8 months since my plantar plate sprain flared up—a five-mile run feels crazy long to me still—and about two months ago, I started texting a friend when I’d exercised that day. We’re not on the same training plan and don’t live near each other, but I just wanted accountability, as did she. It’s keeping me going.

photo courtesy of anothermotherrunner.com
TTLWH: Do you have a funny running story you want to share? Do you get to run with Sarah much?

DMD: I don’t have one specific story. I’m really good at tripping (especially on rocks about the size of a domino), and I land pretty hard most of the time. See: broken wrist, broken hand. I even fell once in a race, right in front of somebody who had just complimented me on the talk I’d given at the expo. Sarah (a.k.a. my sister from another mother runner) and I try to run whenever we’re together, and we’ve had some great runs around the country: We’ve run everywhere from Sacramento to Seattle to Annapolis.

TTLWH: You and Sarah have had a huge impact on the world of women’s recreational running—not only with your books but your website, your blog, your sassy t-shirts—you’ve empowered many of us (myself included) to call ourselves badass and believe it! In your wildest dreams, could you have imagined this happening? Does it feel like a dream come true? Overwhelming? 

DMD: It’s all that: a dream and overwhelming and wild and empowering. Definitely did not imagine this happening at all; It’s all been organic. The coolest thing for me is that while it’s quite a bit of work, it’s work that we love and in which we are totally invested. The most overwhelming part is the travel. Not being on the road, but removing myself and then reinserting myself into family life. There’s no rest for the in that situation. What’s more, I am 100% totally my (don’t-always-love-to-run) self with the AMR crowd: I don’t feel the need to impress anybody or pretend like I’m somebody I’m not. (Because, as we all know, acting otherwise is a much bigger load to carry.)

TTLWH: I met you and Sarah at a house party a few years ago, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I loved the intimacy of the house party and that I got to meet and talk with both of you. Your parties are so big now, and I’m wondering if you and Sarah still feel that same connection with the women who attend them. 

DMD: Absolutely feel that connection. A few weeks ago, I was solo at a mother runner party in Atlanta—Sarah was in Spokane for an expo—and I started to feel a bit stressed by the long line of women waiting to get their books signed. At home, I’d been reading this book called The Barn at the End of the World, which is about a Quaker Buddhist Shepherd. Mary Rose O’Reilly wrote about how she was at the bank, and as she apologized and fumbled around in her purse for something, the teller said, “I have all the time in the world.” Then Mary followed it with an eloquent explanation. I couldn’t remember that part, but I remembered the phrase all the time in the world, and talked myself down. I asked everybody what they were up to, running-wise, and chatted with them before signing. That’s the part of AMR I love the most—hearing the stories—and to not take time to hear them would’ve really bummed me out. Everybody was predictably patient and awesome—they’re mother runners, after all—and of course, there was plenty of conversation and connection (and wine consumption) in the line.

TTLWH: Finally, once you wrap up the book parties, what’s next for you and Sarah? And on a personal level, are you training for anything? Any races or events that you want to cross off the list?

DMD: As a birthday present to myself, I signed up for two shorter triathlons: one Olympic-distance in early June, and a sprint one in late June. I may do a few more after that…we’ll see. My foot is not ready for anything past a 10K—and I’m not even sure how that’ll feel, so I’m just going to play it by ear. As you know, Sarah broke her ankle and had surgery on it about two weeks ago. Although she’s bummed it happened, she’s glad it’s a bone, which will heal solidly and healthfully, unlike muscles and tendons can, and she’s glad it happened just two weeks after Boston. She’s had her eye on Boston 2016, which she qualified for in the fall of 2014, and she’s sure to be running strong there.

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Thanks again Dimity! And thanks to you and Sarah for all you do and all you’ve done for women’s (and mothers') running. Actually, you could write a book on the history and growth of the whole BAMR movement! Best to you and Sarah as you guys wrap up your book parties. I hope you take some well deserved time off. 

Please join me in wishing Dimity good luck on her tris in June! And send healing vibes to Sarah, whom I'm sure is counting down the days before she's back on the road!

Have you read any of the other mother runner books? Which was your favorite? And why? Have you attended one of their parties?

Linking this post up with Diatta and Sheila for Workout Wednesday AND Annmarie, Angelena, Sara, and Amber at Wild Workout Wednesday! Be sure to check out both linkups and see what everyone else is posting!












69 comments :

  1. Fab interview, this was fun to read. I definitely want to pick up this book and share with the mamas I know!

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  2. I havne't read any of these, but you've peaked my interest! Thanks! Awesome interview :)

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    1. Thank you! It's great to have author involvement with the book club!

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  3. I've been a fan since their first book came out and had the opportunity to meet them both a few years back at a Zooma race. Love these ladies!

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  4. Great interview, Wendy!!! Loved reading this.

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  5. Fantastic interview, Wendy! Way to go!

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    1. It was fun to do this! I love the author involvement!

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  6. Must pick up this book!Thanks for linking up and thanks for the great post :) it was a good read to start my day!

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  7. Loved reading the interview. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for checking it out! Have you read the book?

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  8. Great interview! I love listening to the AMR podcasts during treadmill runs - love DMD and SBS!

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    1. I've heard that from a lot of running friends. I think I need to get on board with the podcasts!

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  9. NO WAY!!! Fantastic interview!!! I have always been such a fan of hers!

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    1. I know, pinch me, right? I was pretty excited about this one!!! :)

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  10. This is awesome! I still need to read the book for Book Club, but I am excited. TLAM wasn't my favorite - just because it was too much training and not enough story-telling, but Tales seems way more up my alley.

    Anyway, Dimity seems awesome! I would love to meet her and Sarah one day!

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    1. They're great! And plenty of time left to link up. The book's a quick read, for sure. My favorite of the 3.

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  11. This is awesome, so cool you were able to interview her. I used their training schedule out of Train Like A Mother for my half marathon and PR'd big time!!! Thanks so much for linking up :)

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    1. I absolutely adore these ladies! And all that they have done for us mother runners!

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  12. Great interview! So inspiring!

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    1. This book was the most inspiring of the trio. I wonder what will be next?

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  13. I haven't heard of these books so thanks for the review. I'm also interested in her writing and marketing process. #wowlinkup

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    1. You know, I bet the process has evolved over time. I'm sure they never would have dreamed of the success they've achieved. They really struck a chord with women and we were ripe for some heroes!

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  14. i have not read any of their books and really need to. thanks for sharing this!

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  15. Love all the books and love the ladies dearly. Great interview Wendy!

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  16. I met them last year when they were out this way. They were just as awesome in person as in the books, so I am not at all surprised that she gave you this great interview. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I even told her that it was ok if she didn't, that I understood after SBS broke her ankle, but she came through!

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  17. Fun interview! My sis got me the book and I need to re-read it now!!

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    1. You would love this one. Lots of great essays!

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  18. Your questions were great, Wendy. You can tell that Dimity put a lot of thought into her replies. No surprise there. She is very caring. Thanks so much.

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    1. Yep, it was a great experience! I love them even more.

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  19. I wish I had more time to read! UGH!!!! I know, I know....I need to schedule it in LOL.....maybe after the 26.2 and 50K this summer :-) Great interview :-)

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    1. These should definitely be on your to read list!

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  20. I read the first 2. The third is currently in my handbag waiting to get started. I follow the blog. And I listen to some of the podcasts. This past weekend I listened to the podcast of Bethany Meyer running Boston while on a run, and I laughed and cried and felt like I ran Boston myself on my run!! Love her...love the essay she wrote on their blog after running Boston. Just yesterday I listened to the podcast of amr with the oldest woman to run Boston this past year (blanking on her name)...LOVED it!! I was so jealous of this 80+ woman who has all this running in her life. And then I realized she started running at 48, so I still have time to do what she did....and that I'm ready to pretty soon join a running group. Great interview!!

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    1. I love those stories of the "older" runners because it makes me believe that I've still got some in me!

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  21. Very cool. I met Dimity and Sarah at the Zooma Chicago Expo in 2013. They autographed my TLAM book!

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    1. I got TLAM autographed at the house party I attended. Love them!

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  22. Such a great interview. Dimity and Sarah are so inspiring. I need to pick up TAMR!

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  23. Great interview! I had the chance to meet Sarah and Dimity at a house party too, they are so sweet and it was awesome because it was right before my first marathon! I've read the first two books, I need to get the third!

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    1. Definitely pick up #3. To me, it was my favorite of the bunch. So far.

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  24. I've never heard of these books but will definitely be picking them up. This interview was awesome! I always talk to my mom about how I feel like her and I could write a book on mother daughter running haha this kinda inspired me back up with that idea ;) I'll let you know once I read them - I'm really interested in the first one with the essays.

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    1. Please let me know what you come up with! And share these books (especially Tales of Another Mother Runner) with your mom!

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  25. Great interview! It has inspired me to pick up this trilogy and read it!

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  26. Great interview! I have both of their books and LOVE them :)

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  27. Great interview! and so fun to read, what a story! I have one of the books, not the one you did the book club for- I have not read it yet- but it will get pushed up for sure now! Loved the post!

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    1. All three books are good, this last one was my favorite. You know me, always looking for inspiration!

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  28. Awesome job and great questions for the ladies :) I had never heard of this until I read your blog. I can't wait to get the books!
    and yes, best wishes to Dimity in June, and best wishes for healing to Sarah!

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    1. Oh, Karen, you'll love the books! And if you don't follow them on social media, you should. They're so inspiring and empowering!

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  29. Great interview! I wouldn't say I'm an avid runner, but I have come to enjoy running and find it therapeutic. I will definitely check out these books!

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  30. Love the interview with Dimity. I met them once at Zooma Cape Cod. Love the books and the inpsiration!!

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  31. Great interview! I love that the sincerity that comes through any time you to talk to Sarah or Dimity and in their books and on their site - they really are genuinely excited to support this tribe of mother runners and that is just so cool.

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  32. Great interview!!! I've read or heard of the books until I ready your review, recently. Sounds like a GREAT read! ugh...where do you find the time to read?!?! There are SO many books I want to read and this has NOW been added to the list. I need a vacation....or better yet...a runcation! ;-)

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    1. I love to read and I don't watch TV. Good thing, or I"d never get through any books!

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  33. This is really cool. Tripping on rocks the size of dominoes? Not cool. :-(

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  34. I have attended one of her parties- so much fun.

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