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Saturday, April 14, 2012

16 Miles with the Single Stroller ~ Finding My Strong

Spring has arrived and that means a lot of things are starting to happen around here.  Everything is starting to turn green and the world is looking more colorful.  Blossoms on trees, azaleas in full bloom.  Temperatures are getting warmer and the days just feel brighter.  Everyone is more active - the trails and streets are busier than they have been in months with runners and bikers and families out getting exercise together.  I am welcoming Spring with open arms - this time of year makes me happy.

It seems I have an extra spring in my step in the Spring, and it's a good thing I do because life is getting busier for my family of five now that the season is under way.  We have tee ball practices and games, Daisy troop meetings and birthday parties to attend every weekend - not to mention the regular errands and chores that are a part of life around here.  And while it's all in the name of fun, I have to admit that my head spins sometimes when I look at our weekend schedule.  It is a lot to keep up with and if I want to continue to make my running a priority (which I do, because it gives me the energy and confidence I need to stay on top of everything), I have to be creative and I have to be flexible.

This week, that meant doing my 16 mile long run on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning.  It also meant I would run while pushing Baby Gus in the stroller, for more miles than I had ever attempted before (until yesterday, my longest stroller run was 10 miles - and that was A LOT for me).

me and baby g
Stroller running is hard - heck, RUNNING is hard.  But doing it while pushing a 25 pound human in a stroller takes it to a whole new level.  My goal for the run was to stay at a comfortable and consistent pace, and I didn't know what that number would be and wasn't going to put pressure on myself about it.  I just wanted to run the whole time and to cover more miles than I ever dreamed I would with a stroller.

After I fed Gus lunch and took Will to school, I met up with my buddy Chris for our 16 mile run.  It was right around noon - just in time for Baby G's nap.  The sun was bright and the temperature was warm, in the 70's.  We got going right away and it wasn't long before we settled into a groove.

Miles 1-8:
8:51, 8:21, 8:35, 8:39, 8:41, 8:58, 8:46, 8:45

The pace felt comfortable to me.  I won't say easy, because to be honest nothing about this run was "easy."  We were running into a pretty strong wind and I tried hard to be thankful for it.  The sun was so bright and the temp so warm that the air would have felt still if the wind hadn't been around to keep us cool.  But it was hard to push against it.  Chris, being the gentleman and awesome friend that he is, repeatedly offered to take the stroller and help me out.  But I was determined to do it on my own, I just really had something to prove to myself.

At about Mile 8 Gus woke up from his nap.  He was happy and excited to be out with me, enjoying the sights and the sounds on the trail.  My little guy doesn't exactly talk yet (he is 14 months old) - but he had SO much to say as we ran yesterday.  The sounds he was making were JOYFUL and I was so happy and grateful to be with him.  Chatting with him and hearing him sing made me run faster.

Miles 9-12:
8:32, 8:25, 8:20, 8:15

The next two miles were hilly, and though I refused to walk up or down them, they really slowed me down and put a damper on my spirits.  Every gust of wind felt like a wall.  Every hill felt like a mountain.  But I kept going, even though a huge part of me just really, honestly and truly wanted to stop and walk.  Or just go home.


Miles 13-15
9:22, 9:18, 8:48

As we started in on the last mile, I began to feel stronger and more determined than ever.  I thought about my dear friend Dorothy, who so many of you know from reading her amazing blog, Mile Posts.  For those of you who don't know Dorothy, she is a mom of three who pushes her kids in the stroller (sometimes all three of them at once!) for most of her training runs.  She inspires runners of all levels and abilities to be their best, to DREAM BIG and to FIND THEIR STRONG.  She also happens to be one of my best friends.  Yesterday before my run, I saw the video that Saucony made about her for their Find Your Strong Project.  As I watched it, I cried.  I cried tears of joy.  Because I am proud of my friend.  Because I am so thankful that her story is being told.  Because she has helped me learn to believe in myself and to give my dreams a fighting chance.  Because I could relate to her - to what she says about not wanting to quit because she wants to teach her kids not to quit.

I thought about how far I've come in the last year.  How everything I've accomplished has been EARNED.  How hard I have fought to regain my strength.  To find balance in my life.  To find courage to do things I never would have even dared to dream not long ago.

Nothing has come easily.  Nothing.  But it has all been worth it.

I ran that last mile - Mile 16 of the longest single stroller run of my life (so far) - in 8:01.  It was the fastest mile of my run.  I pushed up a hill the last half mile of the run and when the road flattened out and my watch clicked into the 17th mile, my pace read 6:23.  I was digging deep and running fast at the end of a long, hard run.

I was FINDING MY STRONG.

#PROOF
Gus was happy as can be when we finished our run.  I promised him that when we got home it would be HIS turn to run around, and Mommy's turn to sit down for a little while.

best running buddy. ever.
I ran for more than 2 hours yesterday afternoon while my two older kids were in school.  That is a lot of time.  Time I could have spent doing a million other things.  Like laundry.  Or paying bills.  Or running errands.  Or just taking a nap while the baby slept, for goodness sake!!  The list could go on and on.  The fact is, there are always other things I could be doing.  The list will always be there.  I've learned that if I want to run, I have to make the time to do it.  Because when I do, I always feel stronger on the other side of it.

I have a feeling this mama will be pushing the stroller a lot this Spring.  Finding my STRONG.

16 miles with the single stroller in 2:18:43.  Average pace: 8:40 min/mi.

Have you seen Dorothy's video yet?  If not, click below! How do you FIND YOUR STRONG?





































































11 comments:

Congrats on a major accomplishment! I used to push my kids in a triplet but I never made it more than a five mile loop and there were MANY walking breaks. Your pace while pushing astounds me! Way to go momma. You better feel great about that :D

Pretty awesome! Nice job :)

Whoa! That is one fast an long stroller run. You found your strong, no doubt about that. I saw Dorothy's video as well and had the same response. LOVE my fellow runner Mom's.

wow this is truly inspirational.

That is a super cute running buddy.
Good job!

That is AWESOME!!! I find my strong by overcoming by doubts :)

Girl, I would say you FOUND IT! I read both you & Dorothy's blogs. You girls are so strong! Very inspiring!

Wow, you certainly did find your strong...you rock mama!!! Love your blog and this post was so inspiring...although my 4 kids are all teens except for my 12 yr old daughter...running is hard but yes I agree, you have to make time for it...running is my passion and it's what keeps me sane on this busy roller coaster we call life.

oh I forgot to say I am now a follower of your lovely blog..you can follow me at http://runningsurvivor.blogspot.com if you'd like

Wow, you are an inspiration!!! Amazing!!

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