I hope this morning finds you and your’s celebrating your mothers, grandmothers, and wives. They are an unbelievable group. I also feel for those who have lost their mothers as days like today must be really tough.
Mom’s do so much for us over time and even as we screw up royally, they are there for us. My mom is no different, but I thought I’d share something very cool about my mom, Virginia Fellows, that I very proud of.
I am my mom’s only child and as such she spent, I am sure, years entertaining me. We were not a huge “sport” family in that we had no history in football, baseball, or other traditional sports. This wasn’t to say we weren’t healthy and outdoors oriented, but we were into different things. My parents were avid sailors, especially in the 70’s when they raced all over Lake Erie. I grew up on a sailboat and we spent weekends on the water instead of in front of the television watching TV. Due to this, my mom and dad got me into swimming at a very early age. Like 6 months old. I don’t know what the plan was, but I am sure it was first rooted in safety, but it led to a life of activity.
My mom was a swim instructor at the Wyandotte, MI YMCA, and had me in a Mom and Tot class early, from there it was Minnow, Fish, Flying Fish, and Shark classes, until I graduated to swim team. Had she known then the hours she would spend driving me around to swim meets, she may have thought better of it, but my swimming kept on and on through my first couple years of college, when I coached a summer league team, until now 40 years later. There is probably a full post about this, so I’ll let it lie for now. This is about Mom!
Fast forward to 2007, and my friend Susan Hayden and I are working on the first Rocketchix race in Baton Rouge. My mom calls and says she thinks she’d like to try it. She has stayed fit over the years and asks me what she should do. With our first race we put up a training plan, and I told her to follow it and she should be fine. She followed it to a tee, coming to every swim clinic she could and riding with people half her age to get to the starting line, nervous, but prepared. I believe she completed the second race we put on in July of 2007. Due to the fact that I was neck deep in putting on this race, I am not sure I got to see her finish. I know I told her I was proud, but it was probably lost that day in my stress. She was a month prior to her 61st birthday.
Since that day, she has done at least one Rocketchix race each year. She has flown back from our summer cottage in Canada to be there, or caught the April version. She has also completed a half-marathon, countless 5k’s, countless other tri’s, conquered any uneasiness about swimming in open water, and become a pillar of the fitness community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She is awesome.
In 2008, I had the opportunity to do what I would say only a select few people have had the opportunity to do. We completed the Southern Magnolia 100 Mile ride. We road the first 17 miles or so together, and her, ever being the mom, told me to go on and ride and we’d meet up at the end. It was an awesome feeling to see her round the corner at the finish. Again I was proud, but probably didn’t gush about it, so again, Mom, I am so proud of all you have done.
Mom Fellows, as all the swimmers she used to drag to swim practice would call her, is a testament to the fact that it is never too late to start. During her 5-6 years of racing, she has had her knee scoped. This was BEFORE she ran a half marathon. She keeps winning her age group and other awards, but more importantly she continues to help get anyone who wants to into the sport. She will meet young and old and take the for a ride, run or swim, encouraging them, and pointing them on to other resources. She volunteers at countless other races and still continues to come catch one of mine when she is not racing alongside.
When I chose this lifestyle in 2001, I never for a moment considered that it would be something I would introduce and share with my mom. For this I am grateful. I love you and am so very proud of you mom!!