Let me start by saying I have run hundreds of races. I started racing in college and completely fell in love with the run. Not so much for my body but for my mind. I have completed a race of every distance from a 5K to a marathon. I have hundreds of bibs, shirts, and medals.
I write this for all the moms out there.
I am a runner.
I love the sport, the camraderie and the endorphins. I crave the clarity from a good run even more now as a mom of two.
Not only am I am runner but I am a mom. A mom of a two year old and a 3 month old. I enjoy running with my kids.
I have three strollers all of which can be taken for a run. I recently got a double BOB because being active with my kids is that important.
I love to push them, listen to my daughter yell “go mommy, run faster” and run with me through the finish line.
But more than that, I enjoy showing my kids that exercise is fun. My kids know what race day is. They know what it feels like to drag yourself out of bed for an early race. They look forward to coming to “run” with mommy.
This is why I run with my kids. Running with my kids goes beyond the race. It goes beyond “my run” and my PR (personal record).
It’s about family fitness.
I grew up in a family of runners. My dad would leave almost every weekend to go to a race. I ran my first race at a very young age. I grew up loving the run.
I also spent over a decade of my life exercising for punishment. I exercised to punish myself for what I ate or to “bank” calories for a big meal. I don’t want that for my kids. I want to show them a different way.
Today, on Thanksgiving I ran a local race. This is something I have done every year since I was little. It is tradition to start the day with a race. As a family.
Instead of dragging the family 45 minutes away to one of my favorites, I chose to try a new race a few minutes from our house because much of our extended family was participating and because it was close so we could be home to watch the parade. I also chose this race because it was a 5K and my husband decided he was going to join us. He has never run a race so this was his first race. Pretty exciting for me as a runner and someone who truly loves this sport.
But right now I am one pissed off mama.
You see starting around mile one I was hearing comments bashing me for running with my double stroller.
You shouldn’t be out here.
Strollers should not be allowed to run in a race.
This is dangerous.
You should be in the back.
Excuse me, what?
As a mom and a runner I am appalled.
Luckily I know runners aren’t usually like this. But what if it was my first race?
In the hundreds of races I have run I have NEVER experienced negativity like I did today. Especially during a holiday race.
I started in the back. I started with all of the strollers. And then I ran. I ran with my kids in tow and my husband by my side. We followed my husband’s interval plan (run 3 minutes, walk 30 seconds). I dodged people the whole way but I never acted in a way that was dangerous.
I came out with my family. I came to run WITH my family. This is how we wanted to start our day TOGETHER.
My kids cannot run a full race (yet). So I choose to run with them. Because I can. Because I want to involve them in fitness and start a tradition with them on Thanksgiving.
I am not fast but I can run a good 9 minute mile with a double stroller.
So instead of running, I should sit out? Or walk? Or hang out in the back?
This saddens me because runners are some of the best. They are usually supportive and honestly there is nothing quite like a a local race. But this time was different.
This experience will in no way encourage me to sit out. I will be at the next race with my double stroller and stand proudly at the start.
Not in the back but with the other runners who got up early to support the community and run. Because I am a runner. And I am a fit mom who can run a race pushing 50+ pounds of extra weight.
The fact that I am a mom who is also a runner affords me the opportunity to involve my kids in fitness. I can’t bring them on the gym floor or to a group fitness class. But I can put them in the stroller and take them through a race.
I can be fit WITH them and because of that, I choose to run with my stroller.
When I see other moms and dads pushing their kids some of the words that come to mind are:
Next time you see a mom or dad pushing their kids give them a high five. It’s far from an easy task but it’s something we do because we can. Because we want to.
Rather than complain because they are running next to you or passing you for that matter, just smile and acknowledge the fact that running with kids is about something much bigger.
This world has bigger problems. Child obesity is at an all time high. Kids are spending hours glued to tablets and adults are forever searching for the next “quick fix” to solve their weight loss issues.
I will be damned if I don’t do everything I can to show my kids a different way.
To all the runners out there who thought and even commented that I shouldn’t be out there. Shame on you. Shame on you for discouraging me or anyone else’s love of running.
Signed one proud double stroller running mama!