Parenting and Running aren’t easy

Disclaimer: This is more of a parenting/baby gear post than a running post.  Also, it is not meant to publicly shame people. Read on if you like.

I remember when SuperGirl was a baby, and I was so excited to be one of those moms who runs miles and miles while pushing her baby in a jogging stroller.  I wasn’t excited enough to fork over $400 for such a stroller though.  I found a floor model BOB Sport Utility stroller at a nearby baby boutique for $200, so I jumped at the chance to have one of these luxury running machines.  Once I started using this BOB, I envied the other moms with their BOB Revolution strollers with the swivel wheel.  This must be why the Sport Utility was so cheap- the damn front wheel doesn’t swivel.  It’s impossible to navigate a stroller with a fixed wheel!  If I had a swivel wheel my life would be so much easier.  Maybe it would be easier, but it wouldn’t be safer.

What I quickly learned is that the swivel wheel isn’t there to make running a breeze.  It’s there to make negotiating the aisles of the grocery store or the mall more feasible.  It’s there so that you can have your jogging stroller and everyday stroller all tied up in one nice little bow.  I had a sedan with a not-so-large trunk, so keeping a BOB in there full time was not an option.  Plus, it doesn’t really fold up that easily.  I had a separate stroller for everyday use, so my jogging stroller was just used for jogging/running, and it was stored in our dining room because we had no garage.  Now we have a garage, so it’s basically a stroller grave yard.

The thing is, I have seen lots of people running with the swivel wheel unlocked.  I have also seen people jogging with strollers that aren’t mean for any type of jogging whatsoever.  I won’t even get into that here.  People, this is NOT SAFE.  Do you want to know why? Because if you run “over even a small pebble with a swivel wheel at running speeds could send the stroller quickly veering in an unplanned direction.” See Runner’s World’s Guide to Jogging Strollers.  Also, even if you have a swivel wheel that can be fixed, there is “always some jiggle in the wheel one way or the other.”  If you look at the BOB Revolution owner’s manual, it specifically says not to run with the front wheel in swivel mode.  I am not a huge stickler for rules like obeying the speed limit or not turning on a red light.  But if the stroller manufacturer is telling me not to run with a swivel wheel, and most “serious” jogging strollers are only made with a fixed wheel, then I am not going to take that chance.

I have seen people comment on message boards that it would be “too hard” to push their kids with the front wheel fixed.  Here’s the thing: pushing your kid(s) in a jogging stroller is not supposed to be easy.  It’s hard work.  It makes you a bad ass, because you can watch your kids and exercise at the same time. It doesn’t make you as badass as this guy, but you are still way more awesome than someone who thinks that having kids and exercise don’t go hand in hand. Parenting is hard work.  There are some things that would make parenting easier, like putting your kid in her carseat without taking the 15 seconds to fasten the 5-point harness.  Or leaving your kids at home asleep with no baby sitter for a few hours because they sleep like rocks anyway. Or not installing a baby gate because you would have to find your drill, or making sure your wine isn’t on the coffee table because little Timmy might drink the whole thing (we all know you pour more than 6 oz). But easy doesn’t mean safe.  

Over the years I sold the BOB and acquired a double stroller that had a swivel option.  I only ran with it in the locked position, but I found it was not as sturdy and I worried that at any moment it could become unlocked.  Also, I didn’t like how small the wheels were.  I ended up with the Baby Jogger Twinner which is one of the best things to ever happen to me, besides my family and Amazon.  You can’t put an infant under 6 months in it but this isn’t a problem for me.  I talked about Big Red in a previous post so I won’t bore you again, but a big wheel and lightweight frame are crucial if you want to make pushing a jogging stroller easier AND safer 🙂

 

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Fall is for racing

I am itching to find a half marathon in late November or in December. Are there any out there besides Kiawah that I can do in NC? Heck maybe I will even go up to VA, if SuperDad signs off.

I really need to find a race longer than a 5k because I can knock one of those out in my sleep (how fast it will be, well that’s another story). Only Olympic athletes actually train for a 5k right? If I can nail down a half marathon in next the 4-8 weeks, that should give me enough time to set some goals, amp up my mileage in a safe manner, and force me to do some tempo runs and speed work. I have fallen into yet another of my ruts and with this amazing fall weather, I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t indulge in a longer fall race.

Disclaimer: This is not recommended for beginners! I have been running up to 7 miles at least once a week and 4 miles with the double stroller (that’s 8 non stroller miles, if you don’t know the math) several times a week. I have time to get my long runs up to 10 miles, which I would be comfortable with heading into a race I just plan on running for fun, not to race. Wait did I just say I am doing a “fun run” because I don’t think I ever have before?

Alright people, put on your thinking caps. I am considering the City of Oaks 10k on 11/3 – yes they do have a 10k for lightweights like me but then I want you all to find me a half. Remember, it has to be at least one month from now. Ready, set, go!

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My mom and I at the Dowd Y half marathon in Charlotte in 2010. Gloves, hat, cold weather apparel. That’s what I’m talking about.

Oops

So, I thought that running 100 miles this month would be too easy, so I thought 100 miles pushing the double stroller would be a better goal. Wow, definitely overshot that one. Not necessarily because running 100 miles with a stroller is so physically challenging, but coordinating my runs with a time when both kids would be awake and willing to sit in the stroller would take an act of Congress!

Sure, on the weekends it isn’t that difficult to pick some random time to run with the stroller. But for week day runs, I like to head out at 6am occasionally. There is no chance I am rousing my kids from their coma-like sleep just to put then in the stroller. I like running to be quiet, and if I jolted them out of bed, they would both scream the whole way, waking the neighborhood like the two largest, most annoying roosters to ever exist.

If I don’t leave work until after 6, the run takes place while Super Toddler is ready to CRUSH his dinner. A few squeeze applesauces and crackers ain’t gonna get the job done.

All this leads me to my giving up on the 100 double stroller mile goal. Many doubted me from the get go and I don’t think they are haters or hold my ability to stick to goals in low esteem. Rather, I think they considered all the contingencies (noted above) which I hadn’t factored in beforehand.

I have decided to stick with 100 miles in October but even this is hard because there are other things, like group exercise classes, I want to do besides run. And I don’t want to work out for 2 hours a day. How on earth did I do this during my very brief period of triathlon training? How did I run 5 miles, then go do a 3 hour swim practice in high school? How did I lift weights three mornings a week in college then in the afternoon swim 3 hours? Just figuring out how to log a mere 25 miles a week is tiring.

Ok enough whining. Just thought I’d share last night’s workout, which is how I got back on track with my monthly mileage. On the treadmill, I started with a half mile warmup (about 8:45 pace), then did 6 miles with the pacing progressing significantly every two miles. Miles 1-2 at goal marathon pace (8:15). Miles 3-4 at current half marathon pace (7:50). Miles 5-6 at goal half marathon pace (7:20). Cool down with another 1/2 mile. So yeah, that hurt.

I will be super proud if I can get to 100 this month. I really just need to toss in a double digit run this weekend and that should set me up nicely. Also, I need a new goal race. Something in Charlotte or Raleigh in November or December. Anyone have any good suggestions? Nothing longer than a half marathon for now.

How is your 100 in October going?

Day one

Sorry for being totally MIA. Work, parenting, and my love for super expensive group exercises classes has kept me away from running (but not biscuits), so not much to write about.

Today; however, I want to share my excitement over a new challenge for this month. My super awesome health guru fitness buff friend Kelly over at Iron Mamas has extended her 100 mile challenge for October. Just get 100 miles in over 31 days. Walk, jog, run, skip, whatever mode you prefer for getting your miles in. It comes out to 3.23 miles per day, or 6.46 miles every two days, or 100 miles in one day. You get the picture.

Back when I was training for marathons, long long ago, I would hit 160-200 miles per month easily frequently. So 100 miles doesn’t sound like much to a marathon runner, but to someone like myself who is now just sort of in a rut trying to figure out what my next race will be, 100 is a good jumping off point. In fact, running about 25 miles a week could make me a pretty mean 800 meter runner. No?

I started out October with a 4 mile double stroller run, averaging around 8:20/mile. I felt pretty strong at the end, at which point I had a light bulb moment. Since I have long since decided that whatever mileage you do while running with a double stroller should be multiplied by two, if I do all 100 miles with the double stroller, then that’s like doing 200 miles! Or, if I do 50, that counts as 100? Just kidding (maybe). Plus, nothing gets me in shape quite like pushing 65 lbs of humans and 20 lbs of stroller uphill.

So who wants to do the 100 mile challenge? If you already ran today, great. If not, you’re only one day behind. Or, there’s still 150 minutes left in the day to hop on your treadmill. If you want to do the 100 day stroller challenge, I can almost guarantee you will get a LOT faster at the end of the month when you run without the stroller.