Long time runners have a tendency to lean toward the type A side of the personality spectrum. I am no exception. I run to reduce stress, to keep my eating in check, to work through the chaos that is my typical thought pattern, and because its one of the few times my brain can be quiet. The perfect run was in the early morning hours or sunset on a quiet mid-60’s day around the local lake. Letting my legs pick the pace and needing nothing my my shoes and the ground.
When my son was born that changed. I became a stroller runner. Stroller running is not perfect and its not easy. It takes planning. Are the kids fed? How is their mood? Do I need to bring a fan? Drinks? Snacks? One detail forgotten could lead to the crumbling of situations faster than a cookie in a toddlers grasp.
Stroller running takes flexibility, and not just the hamstring kind although that does help. How long will the little ones’ patience hold? Do I run the 3 mile loop twice in case there is a melt down or risk an out and back 6 or more? Often you have to modify your goals. Pushing an extra sixty plus pounds of small humans and stroller does not make for a Saturday morning PR or a great day for hill training but I’ve learned there are a lot of pluses as well.
That extra sixty plus pounds makes me stronger. Pushing approximately half my body weight into the wind is better than any fancy parachute those NFL players use and it helps my form. Bending forward at the waist reduces the stress on my hip flexors and low back which are notoriously bad areas for me. It also makes me feel ten times lighter when I do have the chance to run alone.
When I first started I didn’t believe there was any way running with one, much less two, kids could be relaxing, but I was wrong. It gives my spouse a much needed break and I get something that is special for the boys and I to enjoy. No matter what couch jumping, ball throwing, running around like a mad man has been going on, the ride has a soothing quality for us all. A meditative time that it is hard to share with children in many other ways.
So overall, stroller running is not perfect. It is not the fastest, most technical or most carefree way to run. It is not my traditional idea of a “perfect run” but it has definitely become a different level of run love.