Relentless Forward Progress in Racing and Motherhood: How Amanda Basham Balances Running and Being a Mom

Relentless Forward Progress in Racing and Motherhood: How Amanda Basham Balances Running and Being a Mom

Paradis Pro and ultra trail runner Amanda Basham is chasing her run dreams alongside chasing her two toddler daughters. Amanda's training doesn't look like the prototypical professional athlete. Amanda models a strong drive and perseverance amidst flexibility and a seize the moment mentality. It's the only way, of course. Balancing raising two young children alongside her elite runner and physician partner Justin Gruenwald is a true partnership of give and take. Amanda's drive to pursue her athletic passion alongside motherhood and supporting her partner's similar ambitions are inspiring and relatable. 

Balance is something we all seek, but in this fast paced world, it often feels just out of reach. Most of us just want to do our best amidst our juggle and circumstances and that is what Amanda models. And yet, she models it with an attitude of "relentless forward progress", a mantra she has tattooed on her leg to demonstrate her attitude towards life and whatever it may thrust upon us. 

We hope that this Mother's Day you're as inspired as we are by a mother like Amanda and that her words will resonate and inspire you to keep your "relentless forward progress" to your goals amidst whatever challenges arise. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with Paradis Sport, Amanda!

Shop Amanda's favorite Seamless Bikini and Seamless Thong 

What is your proudest moment in sport so far and why?

I think all of these questions could have two answers: pre and post kids. Before I had kids, my proudest moment was placing 2nd at CCC, the 100k race at UTMB in Chamonix. I felt like I had finally reached a shift in my career from good to great.

After kids, I’ve had so many proud moments in sport but they’re rarely based on performance. They have everything to do with how much work it took to get there. My first ultra back after both kids I was eight months postpartum. I ran the golden ticket race, Bandera 100k, and placed 4th. I had GI distress and pelvic pain from having kids but it never crossed my mind not to finish. I had worked so hard to get my fitness back, while breastfeeding, not sleeping and having a baby and toddler. 

What is your proudest moment in parenting so far and why?

I don’t think there is any one moment. To me, parenting is more about making sure kids feel loved and supported. I just want to guide them and help them be who they are. I remember feeling very loved and I knew my parents were always there for me when I needed them. My mom always told me, “You do you.” She always made me feel comfortable embracing who I was and being confident in that. If I can do that for my kids, I will be a proud parent. 

You "balance" a lot - training to compete as a pro trail runner, often amidst solo mom life and other obligations. Most moms who pursue sport probably feel similarly - just trying to fit it all in and find the energy for it all. How do you cope when you feel like you're out of balance and reaching a tipping point?

This is a really hard thing to figure out, and I know I’m not the only one who has to. I feel bad ever complaining because honestly, I love being a pro runner and I love being a mom. It’s a pretty great way to live life. But, it is really difficult to maximize performance and care for two toddlers (or a toddler and a baby at first). I often still don’t get enough sleep, don’t eat well enough, and feel overstimulated or just exhausted from two people needing me at all times.  It’s honestly been a roller coaster trying to fit it all in and have the energy for it all. I’d say more often than not, I feel like it’s impossible to sustain. But what I’ve realized is that these years of babies and toddlers have to be taken one day at a time. It’s really overwhelming to think of the big picture as an athlete while in the peak of sleep deprivation. I’ve started to think of it as “what is my run today or tomorrow?” and just figure out how to get that in. It also helps me plan to eat and sleep the best I can for that day and night instead of being overwhelmed by thinking of the next three, six, or 12 months at a time. 

Has becoming a mom shifted how you approach goal setting and how?

Yes, for sure. My goals aren’t just about me anymore. They need to fit into my life and my family’s life. That doesn’t at all mean I can’t do the things I want to do or set goals, but I do have to consider what it's going to take to achieve those goals and if that makes sense for my family. Often times that just means I have to approach it differently than I would have before I had kids, but I can definitely still do it. 

You have two young daughters—what lessons do you hope they take from your pursuit of running? 

I want them to be inspired and motivated to chase their dreams, whatever they are. It doesn’t have to be running, but I think my pursuit of running can show them passion, hard work and going after big goals that may seem out of reach. I want them to see the failure and success, especially what I do when things don’t go the way I hoped. 

You’ve had winning moments in sport and you’ve had moments where you’ve had to back down from goals and take a break—do you have advice for women for when to “push through” vs when to take a break?

Honestly, I don’t think it’s always obvious when to push through or when to take a break. I consider myself really intuitive and in touch with my body, but I’ve tried to push through for too long several times before. Now I try to think about what my goals are and what I need to do to get there. I also come back to my why and have to remember the number one reason why I put so much time and effort into this. I think remembering your why is really helpful, because if your why isn’t being achieved anymore, then you probably need a break. I’m typically a very motivated person, especially when it comes to running. I’ll have a day or two once in a while where that motivation isn’t there and I think that’s ok to push through. Every time I’ve needed a break is when that motivation just isn’t there for a longer period of time, like a couple weeks or more consistently. Then I’ll take a break for however long I need to feel better mentally. 

Remembering "your why" can be a powerful opportunity to recognize when to take action, both in a manner of finding motivation or of knowing when to pull back the reins. Thank you for reminding us that it's not always a linear line to figuring out the puzzle and normalizing that the "push forward" can still live alongside the "pull back". All women who strive to be better can benefit from that advice. Thank you, Amanda. 


Header Photo Credit: Mike McMonagle