So this weekend, I ran (and a fair amount of walking) a 5k pushing George in a stroller.
When I signed up for this race, I thought Tom would be free to be on George duty, but alas the many schedule changes of May stepped in again. And then all of my family babysitters went out of town to a wedding together.
So either I didn’t run to stay home with George, or I just took him along for the ride.
Luckily this was a race that did not prohibit me from taking a stroller, which until this race I was not aware that races did that.
So tip #1 if you decide to take your little one with you: Make sure that your race allows strollers.
At first I thought about carrying him because I wasn’t too confident running with the stroller. I hadn’t really done much running with it. Plus we had just transferred him to the front of the stroller where there is less coverage and there was a potential for rain.
But as I stood waiting for the race to start, I was already dripping sweat from the humidity, and I knew that George was not going to be comfortable for another 45 minutes with my boob sweat close to his face.
Last minute, I decided to run to the car and assemble the stroller together. Luckily I had the forethought to have the infant seat in my car just in case I decided to use the stroller so I could look at George throughout the race.
We were the last ones to cross the starting line, but we made it back on the course just in time! Fortunately the parking situation was amazing for this race. The easiest in and out parking I have had experienced!
As we were going along the course, the terrain changed from pavement to start, switching from gravel to wooden bridges through the middle, and back to pavement at the end.
Pushing a stroller through muddy gravel is very different than pushing it on pavement.
Tip #2: Look at the terrain on the course information page.
I may have reconsidered carrying him if I had known most of the course was muddy gravel. The stroller and myself were covered in mud by the end from the wheels spinning.
Also I felt like a beast afterwards because pushing a stroller period can be brutal, let alone through that grit and grime. I am also pretty sure that I had a death grip on the stroller the entire time not to lose control of it on the slippery bridges.
I don’t remember the course info saying anything about the terrain, but then again I wasn’t really looking for it. So look for it! It makes a huge difference in the pushing resistance.
Tip #3: Don’t run through ground changes.
I may have tried to run through a gravel to pavement change, and it may have dipped/caught the stroller harder than I wanted it to. I think it scared me more than it did anything to George. But I should have been a little more cautious on this terrain change.
Tip #4: Take a break to shake out your hands and arms.
Maybe this is just me, but my hands and arms started hurting a lot because I had constant hold (death grip) on the stroller as I was running. So I had to take a few shake breaks so I could release some of that tension from holding on to the stroller. Because you are holding on the whole time it does change your stride a little so just be aware of how your body reacts to that. There were parts that I felt like I was going to trip because my momentum did not match the stroller.
Tip #5: Don’t care about the time.
This was the first time in a long time that I have haven’t had a stop watch on a race or on a run period. And this race did not have clocks along the way, so I really had no clue how fast or slow we were going. It made me appreciate the run/walk a little more. This was a beautiful trail because part of it was the Katy Trail. Some of the bridges we went over made me feel like I was in a scene of Anne of Greene Gables. I could just enjoy the process instead of worrying about a PR or envying those without strollers. (And just to toot my own horn, my official time they sent was faster than my first 5K time when I did run the whole time.)
My only goal was not to be the last person over the finish line, and I smashed that. I even was able to pass some other strollers, so that was enough progress for me.
It was a little surprising to me to watch the reactions to the stroller. Most people were nice and encouraged us pushing through it. But oddly enough there were a handful of haters that would either yell at me when I couldn’t move fast enough through the narrow parts or when I tried to pass them they would scoff at me. I tried to be mindful of groups around me and get out of the way when I could or stopped to let people pass. Weaving a stroller through a group of running people is not easy so I tried to stay to the sides. But there were times when I needed to move past people myself, and it is not always easy to get through those patches by myself let alone with this huge plastic rolling extension of myself. I guess I was even more surprised at these people with gross attitudes because this was an all women’s run (besides George). So you would think that they would feel more empowerment as fellow mothers and women-sisterhood stuff you know. Anyway most participants weren’t nasty about the stroller, but again I was surprised at some of the comments and looks thrown my way.
It was really fun to run with George in the stroller. I am glad that I decided to do the stroller instead of carrying him. We were both more comfortable, even though the stroller is caked in dirt still.
Have you run with a stroller? Are you doing any races this summer?