Book: Mom runs with a purpose

By Jamie Lim

Pittsburgh, Pa. native Jennifer Luitweiler is a woman that’s always on the go. However, she still found time to write her first book, “Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of the Poo.”

“It’s a very personal story that happens to be very funny,” Luitweiler’s publicist and a fellow creative artist, Chad Thomas Johnston, said. “And that happens to involve her dog’s love of leaving ‘presents’ beneath her sewing machine instead of in the yard like a proper dog.”

Luitweiler is busy playing many roles. From full-time mom and wife to football fanatic, from blogging about crafts to running with her dog — Luitweiler stays fairly busy.

Luitweiler said she has always been strong in her faith. Even though she grew up in the church, her parents allowed her to explore religious matters for herself.

“I did not know how much support [my parents] gave me until I published the book,” Luitweiler said. “I find myself feeling very blessed that I was given a lot of leeway growing up to explore, to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do.”

Luitweiler said she comes from a family of “word nerds.” Vocabulary and reading were essentials to her growing up. Her parents always encouraged her to write.

“Before I had the nerve to call myself a writer, I wanted to be a writer,” Luitweiler said.

Once Luitweiler’s kids reached a certain point, she was able to bump up her profile as a writer. Her inspiration? Her dog and some poo.

The poo is not just from her dog, but the problems she had to deal with in life. In a way, it symbolizes the way people live their life the way someone else thinks they should.

Luitweiler decided to come up with an answer for her smelly problem. She began to train her dog, and that’s how she became an accidental runner.

“So I started getting up early and taking him out,” Luitweiler said, “And I find that tedious, walking, so I just thought, well, we’ll get it done faster if we run.”

Once Luitweiler became a runner, she started to blog about her runs.

To make the runs go by faster, she would entertain herself by thinking about funny things she would post on Facebook or Twitter.

With time, Luitweiler began to start getting questions from other beginning runners.

One of these novice runners happened to be an editor at Civitas Press. After reading many of Luitweiler’s blog entries, she asked Luitweiler to submit a book proposal.

In September 2011, Luitweiler’s book was finally published. “Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of the Poo,” is a memoir about Luitweiler‘s self-discovery.

Although it’s coming from a personal perspective, Luitweiler challenges her readers to look at their own lives. One reader, Angela Jones, a Baylor alum, wrote Luitweiler a letter about what she had gotten out of the book.

“It wasn’t just a book about running,” Jones said, “It was more a book about deciding to run your life with a purpose.”

The central message Luitweiler really wants her readers to get is that because they have strength and value, they can do hard things. She wants her readers to realize that life isn’t always easy or perfect.

“You’re [going to] get detours. The trick is how you’re going to manage them,” Luitweiler said.

Luitweiler’s mother told her to do everything she had a chance to do and she hopes that’s a message her college-aged will get from the book.

Luitweiler believes that if readers find the thing they love, they need to pursue it with everything they are.

“Jennifer sort of finds who she is through running, and I think that idea is very much in tune with what every college student deals with on some level,” Johnston said. “The truth is, there is a lot of self-discovery that goes on at those times [in college].”

Luitweiler said she hopes that after reading her book, readers will search for who they are deep down. They need to discover motivation and keep it, she said.

Instead of using the word “should,” they need to make it happen.