I am a runner. I am hopelessly, completely addicted to the sport. I feel itchy if I don’t run on a given day. It gives me peace of mind. Just as importantly, it gives me permission to eat ice cream when I’m craving it. (Which may or may not be every night.) I love to run.
Having three kids has not derailed me. If anything, I run more now that I have kids than I did before. It is the best form of stress relief for me. When I can, I try to sneak in a run very early. Way too early, like 5:30 a.m. early. It sounds awful, but you get used to it, and it’s often better than the alternative: pushing the kids in the stroller.
I can tell instantly which of the runners passing by have been through the pushing-children-in-strollers phase. The ones who have been through it give a friendly nod, an encouraging wave. I can see in their wise and haunted eyes that they, too, have braved the behemoth that is the stroller. They have pushed those 100 pounds up hills. They have wrenched their arms out of their sockets slowing that thing down on the descent. They have blazed that trail. Here are signs that you, too, are a Parent Who Runs.
- You keep enough snacks in the stroller to fuel for a marathon. And not a one of these snacks is for you. I have learned the hard way that there is never too much Pirate’s Booty. Never I tell you.
- You have blared C is for Cookie and Trot Old Joe for all to hear. It’s important to be respectful of the other people running or biking near you, but at some point you have to realize that your child whining is perhaps slightly less enjoyable than the ever-motivating “Best of Sesame Street” soundtrack.
- Your children know where all the bumpy roads are, and start saying “AaahhHHaaaAAhhhAAhhh” before you even get to them. Or is that just my kids?
- You are the master of the visor. You can flip one visor down and the other one up on the double stroller without even breaking stride. You can even get that tricky part down in the very front, the part that actually shields the sun from their eyes.
- Your children think everything is 3.5 miles away. The library, two playgrounds, various coffee shops – they are all within a mile. But you may as well go the long way if you are getting all geared up. Even if that takes you in the totally opposite direction.
- You are aware of every bathroom within a five minute jog. Pregnant mamas figured this one out ahead of time, but the running dads will catch on soon enough once potty training begins.
- If using the double stroller, you have developed an uncanny ability to predict fights between your children. If child A’s right leg and child B’s left leg vary within 5 degrees of a right angle, you are pretty much screwed. You must resort quickly to the Pirate’s Booty.
- You have six pounds of dead weight hanging out in the pockets of the stroller. Diapers, wipes, changes of clothing, various toys, a blanket, hats, books, napkins….
- You become keenly attuned to elevation gain. You may have run on a road for years prior to stroller-pushing and never realized it’s actually a MASSIVE, MASSIVE hill. Hills and strollers do not mix, my friends.
- You have learned to tune out the negativity. Closely related to number 9, you are able to ignore your children freely when they innocently call out “Why are you going so slow? Are you still even running?”
What did I miss? Let me know!