It’s funny how your life can change so dramatically yet so seamlessly that you don’t even take a second to notice how different your daily routine is. That is until that one little thing catches your attention and it all becomes comically clear. Then you have to laugh. For me that moment came halfway through packing up the car for a little running outing with my son. Aside from his stroller, and diaper bag, which were already packed I was stuffing a diaper, blanket, zip lock bag of wipes, zip lock bag of Gerber puffs, 4 oz of mommy’s milk, blue teething foot, apple juice, and binky, into my The North Face running pack, next to my Pomegranate Honey Stinger Gel and waffle. That’s when it hit me that a year ago that’s all I would have carried.
A couple gels just in case I decided to go long and maybe a 10 oz water bottle if it was hot. Those items would have been tossed alongside my running shoes onto the passenger seat of my car and I would have arrived barefoot at the trail head somewhere between the time I was now going through the last items on my nearly endless gear check, doing the last minute diaper change and strapping my kid, loaded with toys so that he might stay occupied until we get the end of our street, into the back seat and as a last minute afterthought remembering my running shoes. As someone who has always had a quite minimalist style when it comes to gear I had to laugh at the fully loaded car. All that gear and I was only going out for 9 miles! Training has changed too! Now if I haven’t lost you with this overly long introduction to my new routine, I will now proclaim to you that while I am somewhat new to this father son run routine I believe that I have become quite proficient in the art of the stroller run! Follow these simple steps and you can be too!
Destination. First pick a destination that your kid will like. This is not hard. Kids are easily impressed. I kicked a balloon out of my way the other day and sent the little one into a fit of laughter. However examples of places that my son loves are as follows. Creeks, large rocks, small caves, the old broken down bulldozer at a nearby the logging site, and his personal favorite, the fire tower. Next make sure that this destination is accessible or nearly accessible (my personal favorites include a little bit of hiking) by some nice dirt/gravel mountain road. If the road to the destination is tough, all the better for your fitness. You are not running 20 miles today like you were a year ago so you may as well make it hard!
Bring everything you might need! These things include but are not limited to, stroller, a favorite toy, binky, teething foot, juice, formula/milk, water, diapers, wipes, powder, sunscreen, sun hat, kids pack if your destination includes some hiking, blanket, change of clothes, cell phone, bike lock and because nothing entertains him more bring the dog. On that note bring a towel or two as well. Pack the essentials, bottle of milk/formula, bag of puffs, diaper and wipes into a running pack, you may as well include a snack and drink for yourself as well, and load it all in the car.
Final preparation! You have now arrived at your destination. Your kid may be asleep so take your time loading your running pack, and his pack into the stroller along with that blanket, while the dog runs around chases animals and rolls in poop. If you were smart you have parked by a creek therefore insuring that your kid is as happy upon return as he was at the actual destination. You can also give the dog a bath. Your kid is now awake so load him into the stroller, which he loves, and buckle him up, which he hates. Start running IMMEDIATELY! This will make him forget about the buckles and he will be happy again.
The run! Congratulations! You are finally moving. This part is not too much different than it used to be. Just slower. Although if you feel like running hard go for it! You are not running that far, and you will have a significant amount of rest halfway through! If you chose a destination that included some hiking lock the stroller or if you forgot the lock ditch in the bushes, throw the kid in the front pack and throw the running pack on your back, and ruck it the rest of the way to your destination. This is the best part of the day! Hang out and play with your kid as he laughs at whatever amazing outdoor wonders impress him at the moment. Spread out that blanket and eat your snacks. Enjoy life to the fullest. These are the moments we live for and I guarantee that you will find more gratification at the top of that fire tower, rock or old bull dozer than you did atop whatever peak you were on a year ago! Eventually work your way back to the stroller, haul back down the mountain. Don’t crash. Wash the dog in the creek, hope you brought that towel! Load the car back up and head home.
Nap! Your kid woke up at 5:30. It’s your day off. He is tired. You are tired. Put him and yourself to bed and sleep! He may sleep 20 minutes or 2 hours so enjoy every second of that rest!