Stroller Running (Ahem…Jogging).

Several months ago I did my first run with Mary in the stroller.  I came home from a long training run and popped her in the seat for two miles.  I was hesitant to see how it would go, but excited to introduce her to the world of running.

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We have a great running stroller, but it is slightly bulky for travel and we had to leave it behind when we went to NYC for the spring.  We recently pulled it back out and took Mary for a 6 mile run and Rock and I took turns pushing each mile.

While Rock was coaching hockey last week in Wisconsin, I had the chance to push Mary during her naps.  My goal was to get her to take her shorter morning nap in the running stroller.   We tried it out for an entire week and it was fantastic!  The first day it took her 15 minutes to fall asleep and the second day she fell asleep within the first mile.

Each morning she slept for just about an hour, which was long enough for me to get in my daily mileage.

Here are my pointers for running with a stroller:

Invest in a nice timepiece.  When doing our baby registry, we were overwhelmed.  What the heck do new parents really need?!  If you are a runner, you need a jogging stroller.  If you are a walker, you need a jogging stroller.  They are pricey, but please take my advice and do your research.  Figure out what your family needs.

Rock and I looked at all of the available strollers and went with the BOB Revolution SE.  It is comfy for Mary and has great attachments for baby and parent (snack table for baby and coffee holder for mom).

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This thing has shocks like a car and an air pump to make sure the wheels are good to go.  There is a sun roof and pockets galore.  The only drawback is that while it does fold down, it isn’t nearly as compact as an umbrella stroller or our Maclaren (yikes, kids are expensive!).

Make Sure Baby Is Ready:

Our pediatrician recommended that you do not run with your baby in a stroller until they are able to sit up on their own.  While Mary was able to do this during the winter, I didn’t want to subject her to crappy weather.  So we waited until spring.   You definitely want to wait until they are able to hold their heads ups comfortably, as you do not want them bouncing around and out of control.

Ease Into It:

You don’t need to do a marathon on the first day.  Try doing 20-30 minutes the first time.  I put her snack tray up and added some treats to make the jog a little more enjoyable (for her)  A quick trip for your first attempt is a good idea.  It will be challenging for you and you also don’t want to overdo it for baby and make it a bad experience for them from the start.

Plan To Run Slower:

Pushing a stroller with a baby is no joke.  It isn’t super hard if you have the right stroller.  But it isn’t also won’t be easy.  I run a minute and a half slower per mile with a stroller than I do on my own.  There are great benefits to slow running and you can chalk it up to resistance training too!

As I mentioned on Monday, I ended up running a really solid race the weekend after doing 5 days of slow mileage pushing the stroller.  It won’t ruin your pace in the long run.

Always Be Safe!

Running with your baby presents new challenges.  Make sure you always wear the attached safety strap for the stroller.  While you may be the strongest and most diligent parent/runner, accidents happen.  If you trip, the strap will ensure that the stroller stays with you and doesn’t stray down the road.

While I love listening to music to keep my mind from focusing on the miles, when I run with Mary, I keep my phone handy for emergencies, and I am 100% sans technology.  If anything, I spend my time chatting with her.  Music should be left for your solo runs.

Be smart and obey the rules of running on the road.   Always run against traffic.  Run on sidewalks whenever you can.  And run defensively.  Assume that drivers are not paying attention.

Do you run with a stroller?  What tips would you add?

 

 

Meijer Festival of Races-National Cherry Festival

Happy Monday!  We had an awesome weekend over here.  It’s pretty hard to keep track of us lately, but we are back in Michigan and at the lake, after a week in Rhinelander, WI.

For several years now we have done our best to make it to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, MI.  If you have never been, Traverse City is one magical place.  It has a small town vibe mixed with just enough city life to be the perfect combo.  The area prides itself on fresh and healthy foods as well as dozens of wineries and breweries.  Seated on a bay of Lake Michigan, it is the ultimate “Inland Sea”.  The water is crystal clear and is reminiscent of the Caribbean.  It is truly a vacationer’s destination.

The climate here is just perfect for growing delicious cherries and Traverse hosts a huge National Cherry Festival each summer.  This week long celebration starts on a Saturday with opening ceremonies and airshows, continues with festivities and multiple parades all week, and then ends the following Saturday with a Festival of Races, huge Grand Royale Parade and fireworks. 

My return to racing several years ago began at the Cherry Festival.  It was ideal for me schedule-wise because my parents were able to drop me off at the start on their way to secure a spot for the parade.  Afterward, I was able to come join my entire extended family for the parade and other festivities. 

This year we made a return to the races and opted for the 15k.  We had the option of a 5k, 10k, 15k, or half marathon.  We were lazy and didn’t want to do the early start for the half marathon but I would absolutely try that next year.  I also just love the 15k distance and it is a rare breed in the racing world. 

We were lucky enough to do this race with several friends and a few athletes I have been working with who are training for marathons.

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The races go off in waves approximately 10-15 minutes apart from each other.  This was great because unlike Grandma’s Marathon, there were plenty of porta-potties and as each event took off, the lines got smaller and smaller. 

Why I love this race:  It is a perfect medium sized race.  Everything is well planned and laid out.  The course is gorgeous and the runners all take this pretty seriously.  It follows one side of the peninsula for half of the race and then goes back up the other side for the remainder.  The final mile spits you out on the parade route where onlookers eagerly cheer you on as if you were running a major marathon. I even heard someone call out for me by my maiden name.  Imagine my surprise when I realized it was my brother’s hockey coach from almost 30 years ago!

What I hate about this race:  Quite simply, Mt. McKinley  McKinley hill is a beast and it literally makes you nauseous.  Just about halfway through the race, you cut across the peninsula and the only way to do so is by crossing this hill. On the bright side, the local winery at the top is ready to hand out water (as are other locals who make their own aid stations at the end of their driveways).  On the downside, going down the hill is almost more treacherous as the uphill portion.  I nearly tripped over my own feet as I shuffled down.

Overall:  The weather was nearly perfect with cloudy skies, a bit of a gusty wind, and a chill to the air.  I pushed myself just a bit but played it safe because I knew I had my baby waiting to see me and other athletes to look out for at the finish.  I was happy with my finish and felt that I ran strong, especially considering that I pushed Mary in a running stroller all last week (follow up on this later in the week). 

This race actually attracts some pretty speedy runners.  I have always had a good run here but always came up fruitless.  Imagine my surprise when I went to see my results and found out that I placed second in my age group!  There really is something to be said for getting older (wink, wink)!

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Shout out to Simple Hydration for letting me represent at yet another successful race!

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I hope everyone had a great weekend.  A special thanks for running with me and congrats to Rock, Pat, and Jennifer.  And a shoutout to Darcy, Pete and Mike who I met up with along the course and at the finish.

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Heading home and catching some parade on the way.

The Year So Far and Giveaway Winner

How is it that we are in the month of March already?!  I have to say that the weather this winter has been nothing short of awesome and since I am currently training for a marathon, I am very grateful.

I mentioned to Allison the other day that I hadn’t reflected on my yearly mileage yet and she urged me to get on it.  So thanks, Allison!

January was a nice jump back into training and adding in more milage.  And February was just plain awesome with a trip to Aruba for my brother’s wedding.  Soon we are off for another little trip.  I seriously cannot complain.

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So far this year I have completed over 400 miles with 198 in January and 207 in February.  And the best part is that I feel great!  I was really worried that I wasn’t in good enough shape post baby to be throwing myself into marathon training.  Typically I would have had far more double digit runs under my belt before training started.  But I have learned that isn’t always necessary to focus on just mileage.  I aim to spend a good amount of time each day working on strength training and I truly believe this has made me a stronger runner.  Focusing on the core alone will keep you healthier out there on your long runs.  But I prefer to do a more well rounded strength training that involves upper body, lower body and core.  Once training begins I eliminate a lot of the extra lower body work because marathon training is far too taxing on the legs for me.

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I could enjoy reading like that every day!

I am looking forward to seeing where the rest of my training will take me.

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A huge thanks to Fit Approach and BeFit for allowing me to try these awesome products!

And now, drumroll please……I posted on Monday morning that I was doing a giveaway.  As part of my involvement with Fit Approach I had the opportunity to try out BeFit’s workouts and supplements and have the opportunity to share with one lucky winner.  And that winner is: Gloria Smith.  Congrats Gloria.  Send me an e-mail and we will get you the products!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.  And a big congrats and good luck to Elaine who PR’ed in her half marathon by over 28 minutes a few weeks ago.  This week she is tackling a 10k and a half marathon in one weekend.  Go get ’em!