Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Racing with a stroller: A Simple How-To based on experience

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of racing a 5K while pushing my daughter, Emma, in her stroller. It was fantastic experience and one that I want to share with anyone considering doing the same one day.

Night before:
-Pack stroller, stroller toys, blankets.
-Set out Emma's coat, hat, and gloves.
-Pack Emma's snacks, prep Emma's breakfast and milk for the morning.
-Prep all clothing for myself, including race number and shoes.
-Prep breakfast, fill water bottle.

The race was at 8:05am, so we were up by 6:30am. We planned to get ourselves ready and then get Emma up around her normal wake-up time of 7am. However, she surprised us and was up by 6:15am (perhaps she was too excited to sleep). So we got ready and ate breakfast together around 6:40am. My husband, Ron, ran the race as well.

My pre-race breakfast: 1.5 cups milk, 3/4 cup bran flakes, 1/4 cup granola, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 2 cups water

7am: We left for the race site, arriving there about 10 minutes later. Because we were early, we all hung out in the car for a bit, as the outside temp was probably around 40 by that point. We decided to leave Emma in her footed pajamas as a "long underwear" of sorts, so she was enjoying crawling around the car.

We took turns visiting the restroom and doing a bit of warm-up before the race. I took in another 1.5 cups or so of water.

Around 7:45am, we walked over to the start to get our bearings. Around 8am, we put Emma into her stroller. Over top of her pajamas, we put on a thick pair of pants (almost like snowpants - which we actually considered those too), socks (yes - over the pajama feet) and thick slippers plus a thick jacket, hat and gloves. We put a blanket over top after that. I'm guessing it was around 45/50 at race start, so we were hoping this would be enough.

8:05am: Start of the race. Ron decided to stay with Emma and me in case Emma didn't do well. We positioned ourselves in the back of the pack since we had the stroller (and were basically told to do so by the race organizers). Unfortunately, this put us in a slower-paced group than we were used to. So, we spent much of the first mile trying to get around people on the relatively narrow race course. The course was an out and back with a few hills here and there.

As the race progressed, Emma did great. She was squealing and laughing many times - I imagine at that age it looks pretty funny to see a pack of people running for no reason. At the beginning, Ron took the stroller - mainly because I'm quite certain I would have taken out a few people trying to get around them (I'm way too competitive for my own good). At around the turnaround point, we were finally ahead enough to run a decent pace consistently. I took the stroller.

We had hit a few uphills on the way out with more on the way back - wow is that different with a stroller! I admit I was a bit gassed at the top of those hills. But we kept pushing and made up a bit more time miles 2 into 3. I didn't take any fluids during the race - too short of a race to matter. We crossed the finish line somewhere around 25 minutes - significantly above both of our typical finish times (19.5 and 21.5), but being behind so many people made it too hard to make up enough time. Still, Ron placed 2nd and I placed 1st in my age group.

It was a hot cocoa run, so of course they had hot cocoa! We pulled Emma out of the stroller as soon as we finished. She doesn't tolerate the stroller if she isn't moving (which is why we also delayed putting her into the stroller before the race). We set her down on a blanket and gave her a bagel to gnaw on. She was content chewing and dancing to the race music; she especially loved getting a few tastes of hot chocolate.

We hung out long to get the results and collect our medals. By that time, Emma was clearly tired and ready for her 9am nap. Back in the warm car, we pulled off everything but her pajamas; to the touch, her core felt warm, with her hands and feet felt relatively warm. Not bad for the temperature.

In closing
So while the idea of racing with Emma seemed daunting, it turned out to be quite...simple. Of course it helped that she cooperated, though this is not surprising since we run with her often. The next time, I actually don't think I will change anything about the process. If you are thinking about racing with your kid(s), my advice is just do it. It was a lot of fun and a great feeling being able to share the experience with Emma.

Be Extraordinary,


No comments:

Post a Comment