Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jogging strollers and other stuff

Days 'til the 35k- 46
Days 'til MARATHON- 108

This weather is ruining my trail-running mojo, big time! Choosing to do these long races that require winter training may not have been the smartest decision I've ever made. Today its freezing rain and totally gross outside. I really hate going 2 days without running, but it looks like that's just the way the cookie is crumbling this week. Tomorrow I'll shoot for about 9 mi, and then my long run on Saturday will be around 13. I feel like I'm running out of training weeks as these races draw ever nearer!

So today instead of running, I'm writing about running. Talk about OB-sessed, huh? What can I say, trail running takes up a lot of my brain-time, the rest of which is devoted to singing "Wheels on the Bus" and trying to build the world's largest block tower without knocking it down. So glad I'm putting that college degree to good use, ha!

I got into running when I was about 19. I adopted a 6-month old pup from the shelter who needed a lot (a LOT) of exercise. So, I started jogging a little with her when we'd go for walks. Then we jogged a little more and even more. Before long, we had our favorite routes and ran together almost every day. I'll always be grateful for that little mutt and the love of running that we shared and that I keep alive even though she's up in doggie heaven now. Probably running laps around those fatties who sat on the sofa chowing on biscuits all day. My first race was on my 20th birthday. It was a 5k and I somehow won my age group even though my time was unimpressive. Anyway, it didn't matter; I was hooked.

My love for being out on the trail was really born in Idaho. After floundering through my first 2 years of college and suffering a broken heart, I ventured out west to have myself a good old-fashioned adventure. The Dixie Chicks song "Wide Open Spaces" was my theme song that year. In Idaho I found not only some of the most beautiful trails I'd ever seen, I found kindred spirits to share that time and those miles with. I came back that winter with a ton of great memories and a fresh outlook on my future, but most importantly with a pair of killer quads earned hiking and running in the mountains of Northern Idaho. I knew if I planned to keep those beastly beauties, I was gonna have to step up my running game at home. And this is how I became a trail runner.

For a while I ran mostly on the roads and hit the trail whenever I could get out there. My first 1/2 Marathon was in 2007; I did all of my training and the race on the road. My knees paid dearly for it, and have never been quite the same after all that pounding and impact. If you're ever going up a flight of stairs beside me and hear a "snap, crackle, POP!" its not the cereal, its just the sound of my knees slowly falling apart. After that race, I was tired of the knee pain and just a little burnt out from running in general. I took a couple of years and got into other things, mainly indoor cycling, yoga and swimming. Running and I took a little time to see other people, if you catch my drift.

Then, in 2011 my daughter was born. WOW, that was pretty awesome... BUT it jacked my bod up some kinda bad. I mean like 50 POUNDS bad. Yikes, yeah?! Also, I couldn't really get to the gym because I didn't want to hand my precious little cherub baby over to whatever 14 year old they had working the child-watch. I mean I wanted to work out, but damn, can I get a college- student at least?! So, that just left me and my jogging stroller. My relationship with running was about to get rekindled, whether I liked it or not.

Let me just say this, Moms who run with jogging strollers are way more bad-ass than the dudes lifting 300-lbs at the gym. Those guys are hyped up on Muscle Milk and can go home after a long day of pumping iron and veg-out in front of Duck Dynasty all afternoon. Running with a kid in a jogging stroller is literally one of the hardest physical things I've ever done. Here's why:

1.You lose one of your hands, completely. Going up a big hill and need to pump your arms? Fresh out, homie. Your legs gotta work that out.

2. That stroller weighs like 45lbs, plus however much your kid weighs. Plus, kids get bigger and bigger, which means that no matter how much better you get at running with the stroller, the load you're pushing will continue to get heavier. Especially in the winter, when you bundle your kid up in 12 layers just to make sure that CPS doesn't get called on that crazy lady running with her toddler in a jogging stroller when its 30 degrees outside.

3. Jogging strollers are a beast to turn; your arms will be really sore for a while unless you live at the beach and can find miles and miles of straight road. In which case, screw you.

4. The most obnoxious thing about running with a jogging stroller is the fact that your passenger is a tiny little human who is on a mission to ruin your workout and make you lose your mind. Those little sippy-cup throwing, snack-eating, shoe chucking angels that you're chauffeuring around your neighborhood will no doubt be the biggest obstacle in your path to MILF status. And, unlike the Dwayne Johnson wannabe at the gym, there is no shower and protein shake waiting for you at the end of the workout. Dream on, lady.

So, here we are in 2013. Lucy is 2 and in preschool, which has freed me of my chains to that awful jogging stroller. So, for at least 2 mornings a week and one nice long run on the weekend, I'm free to roam the wild forests in Central Virginia. I'm signed up for a 35k at Bear Creek Lake in January which is sure to be interesting. My first Marathon is March 15 at Pocahontas State Park, my "home court," as far as trail-running goes. At the end of this very cold and muddy journey, I'll be one of those jerks with a 26.2 stickers on my car. You betcha!