It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted with any iota of regularity on Run More Awesome, and the simplest, most straightforward explanation is that I have not been running with any iota of regularity for some months. I could list a plethora of excuses, but instead I’ll say that I’ve been weight training, cycling, and yoga-ing at the Y all winter, spring, and summer, and quite frankly, it’s a heckuva lot simpler to take E to the Kid Zone at the Y and go work out than it is to gear up and go out for a run with him.
So there you go.
In June, we moved to a little neighborhood about two miles from our loft, the same neighborhood where I lived in college. This little neighborhood is adjacent to my favorite park in Springfield, and the park is the home of several 5Ks. The parking isn’t great, but you can easily route a 5K through the surrounding neighborhoods without crossing any major thoroughfares. Plus the traffic is light and the roads are flat.
So we’ve lived here almost two months, and having run the Girls Just Wanna Run 5K several years ago and remembering that it was in Phelps Grove Park, it had already occurred to me weeks ago that I sorta-kinda wanted to give it a go. On Friday morning, E and I ran a handful of errands, and when we got home, he conned me into taking him for a walk in the jogging stroller. We walked our neighborhood, and I was annoyed with myself that I had not run at all (save one two-miler) since the Girls On the Run 5K (that’s not confusing) in May. When we got home, I double-checked the information for the GJWR race, cleared the race with the husband (of course he agreed, he got to sleep until 8:30 sans child), and professed to the social media universe that I was running this race. We registered at the race expo Friday afternoon.
I am nervous before all my races, and I was nervous about Saturday’s race because I had never run a 5K with E by myself before. But it all worked out just fine. As always, I laid out my race gear on Friday night, and I added E’s snacks to my prep work. And as always, I woke early on Saturday to get out the door in plenty of time. I dressed, loaded up the stroller, and woke E. Changed his diaper, left his PJs on, and promised him Cheerios and a banana on the way. And out the door we rolled.
At the park, we lined up with the rest of the racers, positioning ourselves near the back of the pack. The race organizers requested that all strollers be near the back, but for future races, I will likely disregard this request. It’s not a bad idea if you are walking with the stroller to be lined up with other walkers, but many women like myself were there to run with their strollers. I think the race organizers thought that it would be safest for all involved if strollers were in the back, but it’s never a good idea to position runners behind walkers, especially if they are pushing rolling juggernauts that are difficult to steer.
Fortunately, because we were running slowly, weaving in and out of walkers, I was able to run the first 9/10 of a mile, which is much farther than I expected. But I felt like I was being rude, calling out to walkers, “Stroller on your left!” Tip: Running near the curb and making no attempt to run the tangents was the best way to navigate this race. By the first mile marker, the crowd thinned out enough that we could go at our own pace without as much weaving.
We ran-walked the rest of the way. I didn’t have great expectations for this race because I haven’t run all summer, and I haven’t run with the stroller since last winter, but we did OK. We finished the race in 37:57, which I’m calling a stroller PR. Once finished, I literally grabbed a bottle of cold water, and we walked home for our cool down. Drank an iced coffee and ate some bacon (hey, it needed to be eaten) as my post-race snack, showered, and sent the boys off for Saturday morning “Dude’s Day.” That is, Dad and E went grocery shopping. And that was that.
I ran-walked again with E this morning, and my plan is to get out with him two or three days a week for the rest of the summer, along with my regular visits to the gym for weights and cross training. There’s a 10K in early October that I always like to run, so that’s on my radar. And I’m turning 30 next month, and I think I might want to do a race for that, too.
Have you run a 5K with your kiddo in a stroller? Did you learn any tricks to navigating the crowd?