3 Wheels to Freedom

I’m currently training for a 5K, and I’m running with a team that will be about 1500 miles away! I hope you’ll consider donating to our team by clicking right here.  My very dear friend, Rebecca, lost her father to brain cancer.  He would have been 55 this year.  She and some family members are raising money, as they do each year, for the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation. They’re running the Race4Hope in Oklahoma City on Saturday November 2nd. I’m unable to be with them in person, but I’ll be running with them in spirit at the Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford, Connecticut. This is another good cause – a memorial fund in memory of Victoria Soto, one of the teachers who lost her life in the Sandy Hook shooting. Here’s a little bit about what I’m experiencing in getting ready for the race:

Getting a jogging stroller has given me a feeling of freedom rivaled only by the day I got my driver’s license. Never before have I been able to just take off in the middle of the day and go running.

For work, I’ve never had more than 1/2 hour for a lunch, so running always had to be early in the morning, when I try not to do anything or after work, when it was dark and I was tired. So, obviously, I’ve never been that into running.

Until now. I can go whenever and that makes it a fun thing, not something I feel obligated to do. Better yet, running helps me avoid other things I DO feel obligated to do. Kids irritating me? Laundry that needs to be folded? Dishes that should get done? Not now! Its’s run-thirty, folks! I strap my kids in, put a headphone of Oklahoma or Texas’s best music in one ear and head out.

No one even judges me. Usually, people even cheer me on. When I encounter people they say kind things like, “you go girl, they should be pushing you!” I just laugh and think “actually, I should be washing their clothes, or at least changing them out of their PJs!”

I call myself a runner because I like running and because runners are cool with that. I’m really slow; technically it’s jogging I suppose. Runners* all seem to support each other and will let just about anyone call themselves a runner as long as they enjoy it.

Of course there are a lot of times I don’t feel like a runner. Namely, the first mile of any run. That’s when my thoughts are, “maybe this was a bad idea today,” “I think I feel my knee getting ready to give out,” “nothing is chasing me, what is the hurry?” and “I’m tired, this is stupid.”

But I keep going because I know, shortly after the Map My Run (a running app that measures your time and distance) lady whispers in my ear, “Distance: 1 mile Time: Superfast” (okay, she doesn’t say that, but if I could set her to, I would) I will switch into rock star mode. Shortly after that first mile, it hits me that I could run forever. Or at least the next 15-20 more minutes depending on the number and severity of hills involved.

And for about two more miles I will run hard and my legs might get all jello-y and I will get sweaty, but the awesomeness will continue.

Typically, I run laps around my neighborhood. My neighbors will get to see me

Awesome Workout Face, weird isn't it?
Awesome Workout Face, weird isn’t it?

grunting and breathing hard while pushing a giant, awkward stroller slowly up and down the streets near my house. They can watch my face turn red except for one spot around my lips that stays completely white. I call that my “awesome workout face.”

After I run whatever distance my 5k training program dictates, I go and grab our 8-month-old puppy and finish up with a cool-down walk (the dog is still too young to run but accompanies me on cool-downs and warm-ups.)

On this cool-down walk, I think it’s pretty clear to me and everyone that sees me that I’m pretty much the coolest person around. I’m strong, I’m lean, and I’m smart. It’s not unlike after I have a couple of drinks and am suddenly compelled to advise you on offshore investment accounts, helping your daughter cope with college homesickness, or any number of other topics that I am in no way qualified to discuss. Except I probably look and smell a lot worse after a run than after a manhattan.

I pity any neighbors who allow me to speak to them on one of these cool-downs. I’ve held folks captive
to discuss tree sap, the hazards of substance abuse, pets, yard work, and worse. All while I still have my awesome workout face on and am sweating through my clothes.

It’s awesome.

None of this would be possible without my double jogging stroller. Best $40 I’ve ever spent on Craigslist.

*My view of runners may be a little skewed by an incredible local running group.  Last November when I was training for a 5K, I trained with the Glastonbury River Runners in Glastonbury, CT.  They have an outstanding beginners program to get you ready to run a 5k no matter where you are.  If you are in the area and you’re considering starting running, these are some great people.  I would still be running with them, but my part-time job prevents it.    The other runners I associate with are mostly  online – the “Another Mother Runner” community and friends from college who were already awesome before I even realized they were runners.  If you think maybe you want to run but are pretty sure you don’t know where to start, people like these can help!

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