Monday, May 16, 2011

Running With My Daughter

I had hoped to post my race report for the Shad Bloom 10K I ran on Saturday, but I’m still trying to get everything settled after returning from our week-long getaway. I’m afraid that the race report will have to be postponed until next Monday.
My jogging stroller is great for the most part, except it doesn’t travel well. It takes up a lot of room so I didn’t take it to Block Island. This meant a week of running on my own. I’m not complaining; it was a fabulous week of long runs on sandy trails with ocean views. But I regretted not being able to share those views with my little monkey.
This morning I pulled the stroller out and brushed off a few cobwebs. I’m amazed how quickly spiders can make themselves at home! Monkey eagerly hopped in, so I could tell she’d missed running with me too. Of course, she’d had to bring a ‘few’ things, like every Disney Princess Barbie doll she has. I guess they needed a little fresh air!
Not quite a mile from our house is a track. Once we got there, I parked the stroller and unbuckled Monkey so she could get out and run ‘with’ me. I hadn’t tried that in while, but while we were on vacation, she started racing us along the path to the beach. She’d run ahead saying, “I’m going to win!” When she reached the end, she turned around and said, “Yay! You win!” to each of us as we finished. Winning is finishing what you set out to do. At least that is the lesson I hope Monkey was teaching.
Back home on the track, she ran along behind me. I ran an easy pace, but didn’t hold back to stay beside her. Occasionally, I jogged back to her and she was just running and smiling! Her breathing was heavy and I could tell she was really trying. I ran backwards to keep an eye on her and encourage her to keep it up, but then she tried to run backwards too! It seems like just yesterday she was learning to walk!
After one full lap, she ran a little and walked a little. Then she started running back and forth in the grass in the middle of the track. When I finished my laps, she was waiting for me in the stroller guzzling apple juice from her cup.
I buckled her up again and set off to continue the run. Surprisingly, Monkey talked the entire time! Usually she quietly observed her surroundings and eventually drifted off for a short nap. Not today. Today she carried on conversations with herself and gave me orders: “Faster. Stop. I wanna go down there. Stop bumping me. Hurry.” I have to admit I missed the usual quiet!
While off road on the run, we stopped at the creek, climbed down to the rocks, and took a moment to enjoy the view. I was sad to leave the beauty of Block Island, but there is plenty of beauty in my backyard. The creek flowed gently in front of us before falling into a faster current. Birds twittered and chirped and the insects buzzed and hummed.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” I asked Monkey.
“Yes. Booteefull.”
I put my arm around her and pulled her close. “Do you see the water?”
She nodded.
“The trees? See how green they are?”
She looked up and around her.
“There are a lot of them aren’t there?”
She nodded again.
“God made them all.”
After such a profound statement I expected an “oooh” or an “awww”; instead, she said, “Let’s go.”
She just can’t sit still for long! So much for quality time soaking in the peace and beauty of nature. So much for quality time illuminating God’s greatness.
Oh well. I’m not deterred. She’s only three. She’s only just taken her first real ‘running’ steps. She’s just learning. One day she’ll sit, listen and ask questions. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to reinforce the joy of running and the greatness of God.
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).
*Originally posted on Pocketful of Playdough

Monday, May 9, 2011

Support Is Key To Success

The number 2 item on my ‘Running’ packing list is a sports bra. So it boggles my mind how on a recent trip, I forgot to pack one. On the other hand, I had remembered to pack my Ace bandage in case I injured my ankle.
I was at my parent’s house and my always resourceful mother suggested using the bandage as a suitable bra replacement. She did the honors of wrapping me up. I remember it like the scene where Mammy ties Scarlett O’Hara’s corset.
If a sports bra, is number 2 on my ‘Running’ list, then number 1 has to be my shoes. Not just any old pair of sneakers will do. A good pair of running shoes are essential to keep injuries at bay. A good running shoe helps absorb the shock of pounding the pavement and prevents sore knees and painful joints.
As far as gear goes, those are the only two essential items a female runner needs.  But to be a runner, to enjoy running, to make it a part of your lifestyle, you need a lot of support from your family and friends, especially your spouse.
Running, especially long distance running, which I enjoy, takes a lot of time. My family knows and understands that any events, parties, lunches, or dinners need to be planned with my running schedule in mind. Well, maybe they just tolerate me because I’m family! Regardless, I appreciate all their consideration. With their support, I can make time to run and keep it a priority.
Keeping running a priority with a baby is not an easy thing to do. Before my daughter, I could pretty much run whenever and for however long I wanted. Now my runs are scheduled around Makayla. At first, when I ran was determined by her nursing schedule. When she was a little older, I ran during her naptime so she would sleep and not fuss in the stroller.
Now that she is three, she decides when we go for a run or even whether she wants to go with me or not. When she does go, it takes me an hour to make it out the door, but when she doesn’t go, I have to find someone to sit with her while I run –an extra challenge during the winter months.
I prefer to run in daylight. I just feel safer, but I’m not opposed to running in the dark. When the hours of daylight dwindled, my sister would sit with Makayla after she got off work at 4pm so that I could get a run in before it was really dark. I know my sister was anxious to get home and unwind after a long day, but she understands how much running means to me and this was her way of supporting me.
On Saturdays, my husband supports my three hour long runs by taking Makayla with him on errands. He realizes the benefits to running beyond the physical including more energy, a positive attitude, and confidence in all areas of my life. Running helps me be a better wife, mother and woman. I’m blessed with a husband who generously encourages me.
He is even willing to plan a vacation around a race I want to run! Now that’s a supportive husband! I know that no matter how fast I run, my husband and daughter will be cheering me on and waiting with open arms and huge smiles at the finish line. Without their support, I couldn’t indulge my passion for running like I do. I’m extremely grateful!
I’m also really looking forward to a 10k (6.2 miles) course over magnificent, rolling, protected hiking trails on the scenic south end of Block Island this Saturday. 
*Originally posted on Pocketful of Playdough