Mother Runner of the Month: Lindsay Luttrell

“She glows even without her hair.” Those are words from the nominator of this month’s Mother Runner of the Month: Lindsay Luttrell.

Lindsay is so inspiring, her words will make you even more grateful for the gift of running. Lindsay is a wife and a mom to her 7-year-old son, Parker, and fur baby, Pinto. She lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and works as a radiologist for breast imaging. Lindsay herself is battling breast cancer, completing her last chemotherapy treatment just last month. All the while, she has continued to run: Lindsay says pounding the pavement has given her strength to fight the disease. And, those around her say Lindsay’s strength has inspired and strengthened them.

Lindsay with her 7-year-old son, Parker
Lindsay with her 7-year-old son, Parker

Lindsay’s Mother Runner of the Month nominator says, “Lindsay has persevered through cancer treatments, surgeries, and STILL has a positive attitude… I see her activity on Strava and it warms my heart that she can still exercise while going through hardship. It makes you think about how much healthy people take for granted when they complain including myself.”

Mother runners, meet our Mother Runner of the Month, Lindsay Luttrell:

How did you get into running?

I’ve been running since I was probably 8-years-old because my older sister ran and I wanted to be “cool” like her and run with her! She doesn’t even know this but my running career started with her letting me join her for jogs around the neighborhood growing up. I played basketball and volleyball and was on the swim team and cross country team in high school and have continued running and swimming since! I have done 3 sprint triathlons, at least 6 half marathons and have recently taken up mountain biking.

Running has helped Lindsay Luttrell find strength in her battle with breast cancer.
Running has helped Lindsay Luttrell find strength in her battle with breast cancer.

I’m a radiologist and enjoy general radiology as well as breast imaging. Breast imaging and women’s health have always been a focus and interest for me but I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2019. I had a bilateral mastectomy and am currently going through chemotherapy. I’m still running, lifting, swimming, biking, and doing yoga when I feel well between chemo rounds.

Running after surgery has especially given me a sense of gratitude and humility for the ability to run. It is a privilege that I am so grateful for. I will often pray during my runs and I notice these prayers are often the rawest and most vulnerable — because running really does open your heart and perspective.

Why do you enjoy running?

I love running because it’s a huge stress relief and endorphin generator for me. I love getting outside and there’s a certain rhythm to running that really clears my mind, generates new ideas and gives me insight into my life. I have met some of my very best friends through running and truly cherish the sport for that reason alone! Running helps me keep a competitive spirit but also acknowledge the physical and mental strength within each of us.

What are your running goals and accomplishments?

My next goal is to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and win the survivor’s division. I also want to improve my sprint triathlon finishing time. Ultimately, my long term goal is to finish a half Ironman.

Even during chemo, Lindsay still wakes before dawn to run.
Even during chemo, Lindsay still wakes before dawn to run.

How does your love of running impact your kids/family?

Two of my weekly runs are at 5 am before my family wakes up so I’m usually back before they know I was even gone. =) My love of running has helped initiate several conversations with my

son about trying your absolute best and never giving up. When he saw me run a half marathon for the first time, I finished as the second overall female which I was super pumped about — but he commented: “you didn’t win”. LOL! I told him I didn’t win but that was a goal for next time…. and the important thing was that I tried my absolute best. My son and I frequently talk about doing our absolute best — by being the best listener, helper, reader, and friend that you can possibly be. Running has helped put this in perspective for him.

How does running make you a better mom?

Running allows me to be a better mother, friend, and wife. It is such a stress relief for me and generates so many endorphins that allow me to put life in perspective and not sweat the small stuff. Running gives me time alone that I crave all while reminding me to be thankful for the many blessings I have.

What’s the best piece of running advice you’ve ever gotten?

Lindsay is a radiologist for women's health issues who also battled breast cancer this year.
Lindsay is a radiologist for women’s health issues who also battled breast cancer this year.

Slow miles build the fast miles. There are no “trash miles”. Running slower recovery miles has helped me build to faster miles. I never believed this until I joined a local running training group where I was forced to run slower and then PR’d in my next half marathon.

What’s your favorite running gear?

Hands down…. my running belt!

How do you stay motivated when the going gets tough?

I turn on my favorite Pandora station, refuse to look at my Garmin for the pace and just go enjoy the run for what it is. Sometimes a shakeout run is exactly what you need.

Thank you, Lindsay!

To nominate a Mother Runner of the Month, click here.

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