Tuesday, June 21, 2011

With Me Every Mile

A woman selling sports energy drinks at a health and fitness expo stood in front of me gaping "you run with THAT bohemoth?" Of course I do; I couldn't be where I am with my running if it weren't for this tank of a stroller. Sure it's a bit awkward to navigate through the mall, or crowded health and fitness expos, but on the road this baby turns on a dime, runs across any kind of terrain thrown at it, and despite how big it looks it is actually quite light compared to other strollers.

The fact of the matter is, I am a mom. I can't take my runs during my lunch break. I can't take a quick jog around the block before dinner. I can't leave work a few minutes early to squeeze in a couple extra miles. No, I have to take my work with me.

There is once a week when I can run outside alone. I have a standing appointment with my shoes and the pavement outside our door every Saturday at naptime. My husband understands this and I hardly have to tell him where I'm going. Other than this time, the only other way that I get a solitary run is to go on the treadmill after bedtime.

These times are great for my long runs. When I am by myself, I can really push my limits. However, in between those times, I just need a short and light run to keep my body moving. I used to take the kids with me every time I ran, but then I also used to run outside every time, I didn't run more than 3 miles, and we lived in a very safe subdivision with a low speed limit and drivers that knew to watch for pedestrians in the road. Now that we live in an area with higher traffic volume, and I am training for longer distance endurance events, I pick and choose when I bring the kids along.

The days when just a light half hour will do, I pack up the kids and we head to the metroparks. Here are a few tips on how to make running with kids in tow a little more enjoyable for everyone:

~bring water for everyone. It's hot and humid out there, and if the kids see you taking sips of water they will want some too! Sippy cups avoid melt downs for us. If your stroller lacks a built in cup holder for the kiddo (as most do) then you can purchase one that screws onto the side.

~Consider what "add ons" you could use on your stroller. There are quite a few items on the market. Caddies that velcro onto the handle bar, phone and GPS holders that enable you to clearly see the screens of these devices, and even a gadget that allows you to push the stroller hands free with your waist!

~Don't set any expectations or goals when you run with the kids. Consider how much time they are spending in the stroller, and it's no surprise that they will probably get cranky and bored after a half hour or forty five minutes. It's not fun for anyone when the kids are screaming in the stroller.

~Be selective of what you let them have while in the stroller. We have lost shoes, books, toys, pacifiers, sippy cups, hair bows, socks, hats, and stuffed animals, over the sides of the stroller. When my kids get bored, the first thing they do is to start chucking stuff over the sides. I'm too much "in the zone" and they are too stealth about it for me to notice. Sometimes we find the items on the second loop around, and I've been known to back track for miles looking for a lost shoe. Now my kids ride barefoot most of the time (Jonah is getting old enough not to throw shoes now) and I don't give them anything that I would miss if it got tossed.

~Nursing moms, invest in a nursing sports bra. Eve always wants to eat after a run. I am not sure what it is about it, maybe it's because she's been "separated" from me, or maybe my sweat releases pheremones that make her think "Mommy=milk" I don't know, but I almost always have to nurse her before getting back in the car to head home. Sometimes I even have to stop at a bench during the run to nurse. Regular sports bras are really awkward to nurse in, and even though I have no qualms about nursing in public, I feel self conscious if I have to nurse while wearing a regular sports bra.

~Remember that this is their way of supporting you! Don't get frustrated with the inconveniences of taking your kids along. They are cheering for you in their own little way, and you are setting an example for them of how to keep fit and exercise. Have fun with it, and go with the flow!

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