In 2014, Tasha Grant, a busy mom of two young girls, found herself in a revolving door of getting the kids to school, getting to work, coming home to prepare dinner, helping with homework, and then off to bed to start it all over again. (Sound familiar?) While this is a fairly typical routine in the life of a parent, it can easily lead down a path that we all have traversed a time or two- burnout. But Tasha would soon discover a world she had never really given much thought to before, an arena where the physical meets mental, where tenacity is your currency and grit is the prize. She discovered the world of running and quickly forged a new path for herself among a community of people who aim to encourage, uplift, and ultimately help transform each other into the best versions of themselves. Tasha became a runner.
A co-worker introduced Tasha to the idea of running. She talked about how she and her dad would do races together and encouraged Tasha to join in on an upcoming local race. And, to Tasha’s own surprise, she decided to say “yes.” She stepped out of her comfort zone and went for something new, and she brought her family along for the ride. Together Tasha, her husband, and their two children (ages 7 and 9 at the time) ran their first race. What’s more, they each got first place in their age group in that race! She had been bitten by the proverbial bug. And she wanted more.
Tasha took every opportunity she had to condition her mind and body for running. When her daughters had soccer or cross-country practices, she ran nearby. Sometimes she would stop by local parks to practice. She had learned that even with a full schedule and small children, there were still opportunities to run.
Tasha describes the fall and spring seasons as the perfect time to start running for those who are toying with the idea of it, “Fall and spring are most definitely the easiest times to begin to incorporate running into your routine,” she explains. The weather is cool, parks and greenways are bustling, and school sports practices are in full swing; the opportunity is there.
Tasha goes on to explain, “I would start small. Most races have one-mile walks you can do. You can do that with your kids! Not only are you making memories, but you’re bonding with your family. There are races that are just 5k’s (that’s only 3.1 miles). You can walk a mile, then jog one, then walk another one. Just take baby steps. Your children will love it when they get a medal around their neck. Their smile will say it all.”
One of the first lessons Tasha learned as a new runner was that it doesn’t really matter how well you perform; this is a community that wants to help you finish strong, even if there is a struggle to get there. Tasha states, “My number one favorite thing in running, whether it’s small races or big races, is everyone cheers you on and they don’t stop until everyone has crossed the finish line.” That’s precisely the kind of encouraging power some moms need to remind themselves that they can keep going. These lessons continue to spread into other areas of Tasha’s life.
She explains, “I have suffered from anxiety most of my life and running has been my therapy. It has helped me so much. I love it and maybe other people will find a way to get out there and enjoy the run as much as I do.” She continues, “Running can open the door to so many opportunities. You meet so many new people and make new friends.”
Suffice it to say, running has easily become one of the most transformative experiences in Tasha’s life. At the beginning of this year, she decided to start conditioning herself for “ultra races” or races that go beyond the traditional marathon of 26.2 miles. Her first ultra race was in July where she covered a distance of 36 miles in 12 hours. “My favorite race was 55 miles over a 24-hour time period. I was very emotional when I finished this race because I finally completed something I’ve always wanted to do,” She recalls.
For those who may be thinking there is no way they could even begin something like this, let Tasha’s journey in running serve as a source of inspiration, “The journey is so much more important than the destination. The journey of running has taught me a lot as a mom… There are a lot of times I wanted to quit, but that’s life. Life is hard sometimes and as adults and moms, we want to quit when things get tough. But running has taught me that life is a journey, and the road never ends. Just keep on going. You will reach your goal one day at a time. Never give up.”
If you ever find yourself in your own sort of revolving door, remember that you just have to take that first step out. You may not know where you’re going, and it might feel scary. But no matter what path you decide to venture towards embrace it, commit yourself to it, and enjoy it while you’re there. There are people out there, like Tasha, who will reach out a hand and pull you into the race.
Upcoming Nashville Winter Races:
Music City Turkey Trot
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2023
Santa Hustle Nashville Half Marathon and 5K
Date: Sunday, December 3, 2023
Candy Cane Course
Date: Saturday, December 16,2023
Time Travel Half Marathon/10K/5K
Date: Saturday, January 6, 2024
Couple Shuffle 2mile/10K/5K
Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024
Hot Chocolate Run 15K
Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
Nashville St. Paddy’s Half Marathon and 5K
Date: Saturday, March 9, 2024