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
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.
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!