PC: @sarahchingphotography

Hi, I’m Hannah! I’m a mom of three and currently working on self-development through parkour (@parkour_mama).

I grew up in the pool constantly smelling like chlorine, and it wasn’t until a dejecting senior year in college swim that I discovered the joy of running. At first I joined treadmill runs with my girlfriends just to watch cute boys throw around weights, but I soon became enthralled with my solo afternoon jogs on their own merit. I could go left through the houses, right along the fields, take any twists or turns I felt in the moment. I wasn’t confined in a lane in a box of a pool. I’d pass by trees, happy smiles, and lonely faces – all things I’d miss speeding by on my bike. I loved it.

I left my college town of Davis and became a personal trainer at Equinox in San Francisco (I had a mild stalker there who is now my husband, but that’s another story). Working with a variety of clients and seeing them achieve their goals was like a drug. I worked with Ironman Triathletes, CEOs, a consultant who couldn’t swim a lap in the pool but had signed up for the Alcatraz Tri 2 months out, and a tech guy who had never been in a gym before. I was surrounded by like-minded trainers and got to utilize their specialties to constantly learn and push myself. Once, when I hopped off the treadmill after my lifetime longest run (7 miles), a trainer buddy invited me to his 14 mile run. Though I don’t advise jumping into a 21 miler, I enjoyed the long run and kept up with it.

My now-husband and I started running 7-20 miles every Saturday in the Marin Headlands and all around the city, followed by a trip to the farmers market and lazy afternoons of reading and TV. City running was tall cement buildings, restaurant fronts, the pretty waterfront – and still happy smiles and lonely faces. Those long jogs and lazy afternoons eventually turned into a 3 mile loop around the hilly reservoir in the suburbs. I’d push our twins girls in the double stroller and my husband would push our son in his stroller, and our once-lazy afternoons became chaotic with laughter and fighting between the kids. Today, my 7-year old girls are able to run the loop with me.

After those family reservoir runs, we’d go to Whole Foods and the cashier, Kamran, would always tell me about parkour. I ended up trying it and fell in love with the goal-setting and accomplishment that I hadn’t felt in years. My younger self would have shied away from a new sport, but being a mom, I didn’t care about being surrounded by experienced 20-somethings or being the clueless newbie. Once you’ve been on all fours butt-naked pushing your kids out in front of complete strangers, it’s hard to be self-conscious again.

PC: @sarahchingphotography

Parkour was an escape from parenting that I got for a couple of hours each month (three kids 2 and under and you’ll want an escape – or wine, too, I promise), but now that my kids are older and I have more time, I’m cranking the gears to see where I can go. Through mental and physical work, calluses and injuries, I’m learning to allow my body to do what it’s capable of – and to fully trust it. When I can let it all go…it’s time to fly!

I still love running – the feeling of escaping it all while simultaneously breathing in more of it all. Because I have so many impact days, I want my long jogs to be less impact as much as possible. I love that the Hoka shoe gives me a feeling of lightness, cushion, and springiness. Something where I can go for miles and listen to a book or chill music and not worry about my joints and legs. So now I run, out of my lane, whichever way I want to go. Now it’s rolling hills and kids on their bikes.

And still, it’s the same. Happy smiles and lonely faces. But you know what? With COVID, there’s a better sense of community and connection when going for a run. A lot more eye contact, a lot more friendliness — and I see a lot more lonely faces turning into happy ones. I’m going to keep on running…and let myself fly.

PC: @sarahchingphotography