Thursday, April 22, 2010

Strolling on the river

I am training for a 10K in June and a marathon in November. I’m currently running twice a week. Eventually, I will  ramp up the training routine until I’m running about 15-18 miles a week in June. From there I’ll launch into marathon training.

Stats for the week : Baseline 5K: 32:13. Baseline 10K: 1:11:00 (roughly). Best time of the week: 32:03 (5K); 1:06:31 (10K). Best overall time: 26:57 (5K, June 7, 2009); 1:04:05 (10K, April 10, 2010). Miles within the last week: 9.3. Total miles for 2010: 64.7.  Total miles since 2008: 361.4

RUNNING MP3 OF THE WEEK (That song that for whatever reason has a cadence that exactly matches the speed I was running this week.)
"As I lift You Up" by Jeff Deyo. One of my favorite worship songs from Jeff Deyo. It's upbeat and uplifting, hence the title. 

It’s hard to rock the jogging stroller look.

You know what I’m talking about.

There are just certain things in life that weren’t naturally meant to be. Trying to look at something over your shoulder, for instance. Or hanging curtain rods. While we’re talking about it, you might as well add Keanu Reeves comedies, mullets, pineapple milkshakes, leg cramps, chocolate-covered bacon, fried Coca-Cola, the Montreal Expos and Stefan Ur-kel to the list.

Back to the strollers, though.

I have a great stroller that my parents gave me for my birthday the summer before my daughter was born. The only complaint (and this is true of most jogging strollers I’ve ever seen), is that it was designed for runners in the 5-5 to 5-8 height range (i.e. women ... who are short).

Those of us on the taller side have to kind of stoop down to grasp the handlebars. Your center of gravity pushes about a foot behind you and your legs end up kind of flailing behind.

It’s like those cartoons where the little mouse starts trying to run away from the cat, but the carpet underneath its feet just keeps sliding out in a big flowing ribbon of chaos.  

Plus, if you are somehow able to make the whole act look natural, there’s still that matter of your cargo.

For as well as you might be able to adjust to the stroller, your run takes on a completely different character with a kid along for the ride.

Runs without strollers are when you get work done. Runs with strollers are for fun, nothing else.

You have to be prepared to make stops to look at dogs, ducks, trucks and basketball hoops.

You have to be on the alert for shoes, hats and shirts tossed overboard.

And, you have to be aware of their extremities as feet tend to end up dragging on the top of the front wheel or swaying off to the sides and fingers tend to end up planted in little noses.

Nevada weather adds another layer to the whole endeavor as you can leave in sweatshirts and knit hats and come back in short sleeves and sandals.

Plus, you’re much more prone to draw conversation from fellow pedestrians and yard-workers, which can be awkward for those of us pre-disposed to wheezing while jogging.

“How old is she?”

“(Wheeze) Nine (Wheeze) months ...”

Or ...

“Hey, what are you doing running around with a pink blanket?”

“(Wheeze) Have (wheeze) a nice (wheeze) day.”

Unfortunately, my severe lack of speed also allows most inquirers time for two, if not three, questions. After the first, I point to my headphones, shake my head and shrug my shoulders.

You’re also at the mercy of your child’s attention span. In that under-one-year range, they basically ride around with a look evenly balanced between awe, bewilderment and panic spread across their face. It's that look that seems to say, “I’ve apparently learned how to fly, and I don’t know how long I have until I have to learn how to land this thing.”

After one year, they start to exercise their free will, which is generally to be anywhere else besides that stroller.

My daughter went through a stage one summer where she’d wait until we were a mile and a half away from home before going into meltdown mode.

This prompted casual onlookers to say, “Hey look! That slow, deaf asthmatic is cruel to children.”

After trying to ride out the screaming while casually waving and pointing to my headphones to anyone who asked “Hey, what’s wrong with your kid?”, I would finally give up and get her out of the stroller.

The problem, though, since she’d already gotten rid of her shoes, was there was no place to put her.
I’d carry her in one arm and drag the stroller behind me with the other the entire mile and a half back home. The girl always seemed to find it enormously entertaining. Daddy, however, did not.

All the same, that ended up being a decent workout in itself. So we kept at it. She eventually got used to the stroller and actually pleads to go out on runs with me now. I’m always glad to oblige.

So I had this brilliant idea last Thursday that since I run two 3.2-mile laps on my 10K runs, I could take the 2-year-old on the first half, switch kids and grab a drink of water halfway through and take the 9-month-old for the second half.

Along the way, it occurred to me that anyone who happened to see me both times through saw the same wheezy oaf pushing the same stroller with a drastically younger kid than they saw 40 minutes prior.

“Hey, just working out my own personal Benjamin Button here,” I’d say.

At least, that’s what I’d say if I weren’t slouched over the handle bars panting and having oxygen-deprived delusions of anyone actually paying enough attention to have noticed that we’d already been by.

All things considered, the run wasn’t that bad. I finished in an hour and 6 minutes (plus some change).

I had every intention of running another 10K on Saturday, but we were under time constraints with a busy schedule. I was only able to run 5K, which was probably for the best, because I felt awful the entire time.

I’ll try for two 10Ks this week (third time is the charm, right?). We’ll see. 

1 comment:

  1. Joey, that is such a funny story! You are a wonderful writer... I hope you don't mind that Bea sent me a link. She's been telling me about your blog and how great it is. She's right! : )
    Aunt Julie