By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
I am strong because I have children, not despite the fact
Arianne Brown accepts her third place award with other top finishers at the 2016 Utah Valley Half Marathon as she holds her 6 month old son. - photo by Arianne Brown
Each time I sprint to a personal best time, max on a particular weight lift or rep, or fit into the pair of jeans that has been evading me for months, I have a sassy little voice in me that says, I have seven kids, hear me roar!

Over my childbearing years, I have often felt proud because I have been able to race personal best times and be in the best shape of my life many times over, despite the turmoil my body has been through.

I have even toyed with the idea of having a shirt made that has the number of children I have printed on it for all to see. I have imagined zipping past people on the racecourse with them looking up to see the words Mom of 7 on the back of my shirt, leaving them in utter amazement as they eat my dust.

OK, maybe it hasnt been quite that extreme, but needless to say, I have been quite prideful about my physical abilities despite my title as mom.

Recently, I had a humbling experience that changed all of that.

I was nearing the end of a race where I was close to reaching a personal best time. I began to have those prideful feelings, when out of nowhere I hit a rough patch. My body began to hurt, and I began to shut down mentally.

During my struggle, I started to forget about all that I had overcome to get me this far, and those prideful feelings were replaed by thoughts of my children.

I thought of my daughter who was behind me on the racecourse, waiting for me to finish so I could go back around and get her. I thought about my other kids, who were waiting at the finish line, and of my husband, who was no doubt juggling the two youngest kids alone.

My mind flashed to the countless hours I have spent chasing after and lifting kids and other child-related heavy objects, often taking the place of my daily exercise regimen.

Finally, I thought of the reason I do all of this crazy running: to be the best version of me I can be for my children.

Sure, I have a lot of kids, and my body is able to do some pretty amazing things. But my ability to reach highs I never thought possible has never been despite having children; it has always been because I have children.