Monday, August 6, 2012

Going for Gold! Running With A Stroller! (Moms Running, Baby Jogging)

My girls and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning in order to catch my favorite Olympic event:  The Women's Marathon.  There's something fantastic about watching women fly through 26.2 miles at a pace I can only imagine.  It was awesome.  They were strong.

I especially admire the Mother Runners, like Kenya's Edna Kiplagat and our own Kara Goucher.  But what I'm wondering is, do they ever run WITH their kids?  Cuz lemme tell ya, that would be a REALLY awesome race.

With the huge growth in number of Mother Runners, I think it's time for the Olympics to introduce a new, even more challenging road race.  We can still enjoy watching the gorgeous strides and beautiful paces of our Marathoners, but, let's add to it.  The time has come to introduce the event of:

Mother Running

Why would Mother Running be even MORE awesome than just...running?  
Easy:   it  adds way more challenges to our beloved sport.
Running 10 miles is...yea...tough.
But try doing it with a stroller full of kid and their crap.

Mother Running would be an event filled with excitement!  Instead of only waiting (through the commercials) to see if Russia will indeed beat Ethiopia, we'd  be on the edge of our seats waiting to see if The United States' Mother Runner's Kid's Sippy Cup empties before the finish line, leading to a full fledged melt down, forcing her to steer the stroller as child flails their body about the stroller, screaming at the top of their lungs for "MORE MILK NOOOOOOOOWWWW!"  Will China's Mother Runner forget her kid's snack, leaving him in a hypoglycemic meltdown at mile 5?

My other personal favorite moments of this event would be:

The Pack

The Olympic Marathoners pretty much just SHOW UP in their underpants at the start line.  In Mother Running you can't do that.  You've gotta remember not only your kid and their stroller, but also:  their favorite pacifier, their favorite blankie, their favorite toy, their sippy cup, their snack, enough diapers, enough wipes, hand sanitizer, an extra binky, cash (because they'll probably lose their snack), a first aid kit (laugh, but hey, you long enough miles with a kid and you need it)....Plus, our own water, gu, Garmins, and...well...whatever!

The Binky Grab

You know how this one works.  Your kid is happily riding along, sucking on their favorite pacifier when, suddenly they launch it into the air, laughing out, "ha ha!  My binky Mommy!"  Not wanting to deal with the fall out from leaving the pacifier on the side of the road, you do the slow down, stroller to the side, duck, grab, and pass to baby move.
I personally perform this move an average of 2.5 times per run.  It's a definite.

The Circle Back

Occasionally the specifics presented above don't exactly work out.  As in, your child announces 3 miles LATER that they've tossed their binky/toy/shoe/pants.  Or even better, you look down and realize that their shoe is missing and wonder many miles?

At first, there's the "oh shit" moment.  Then the "do I HAVE to go back for THAT" where the Mother Runner considers risking not going back.  But then remembers what bedtime would be like without blankie.  At which point, the Circle Back occurs.  

The Pit Stop
Now, what impressed me most during the Olympic Marathon is how easily these women rehydrate.  They hardly miss a beat as they grab their fluids.  It's not like the water stops us commoners experience. But let's see how they handle a diaper change along the course.  How fast can you change that diaper, in the stroller, and...the trick...RE-FASTEN your child's seat belt (because they think you pulled over for them to get out).
Bonus points to Stroller Mother Runners completing pit stops with Potty Training Toddlers.


Stroller riding isn't always fun for kids.  Especially two-year olds who would rather be running their own race.  Real Mother Runners acknowledge that occasionally they must provide entertainment for their children.  Sometimes it's just singing a favorite song (while running, breathing, pacing).  Sometimes it's giving high fives in the canopy window (while pumping and pushing).  Occasionally there's wheelie action (while trying to maintain stride).  Or, perhaps, like mine, your child prefers Stroller Peek-a-Boo (while trying to stay on a straight course).  But Stroller-tainment is necessary to avoid the next....

The Last Resort

In a marathon, there's a little thing called "the wall."  When a runner "hits the wall" they find themselves feeling overwhelmed by everything.  They've come so far, yet have further to go.  They are physically exhausted, mentally drained, and feeling completely unmotivated to continue.  This happens to Stroller Kids, too.  Sometimes they hit the wall.  The wall of riding.  It starts out as some slight protesting, "I want out."  Perhaps some shaking of the stroller, maybe kicking their cup holder.  But, occasionally, a Stroller Mother Runner has no other option than...carrying her kid. While pushing the stroller.