Sunday, February 8, 2015

Good Will Running

by Tegan Schmidt

I started back into running a few years before I had my son, Will. Though I am far from being fast, I do love to run. A goal of mine was to complete a marathon (something I NEVER thought I would say), and I was actually in the middle of training for my first marathon when I found out I was pregnant! Needless to say, I had to scale back the training and I ran/walked the half distance instead come race day, but I was perfectly fine with that (this was Will’s “first” race).

After Will was born, we got outside and walked around as often as we could. We live near downtown Washington, so it was super easy for us to just get out and walk around town. I was so happy when we found a gently used Bumbleride stroller (aka “the wheels”) on Craigslist – the “jogging stroller” we had purchased before he was born was not actually made for “jogging” and that just wasn’t going to work. We love our “wheels” and we’ve put many, many miles on them!

I knew that I wanted to get Will out and introduce him to running at an early age to see if I could get him interested in it. I think it worked! He has his own “running shoes” (shoes we ONLY wear when we go for a run), he knows what my Garmin is, likes to get “necklaces” at the end of races, knows what I mean when I ask him if he wants to go for a run, and knows what he needs to do to get ready to go.

Sometimes, you just have to go in what you're wearing-- but don't forget the Garmin!
One of the things that I love is that he’s gotten to know our little town while running these last three years. He knows that the Y is where “I go running” since most of the run we do are there. He also knows that as we’re going up the final hill to the Y that he gets to get out of his stroller and finish the run with me. He knows how to get to three parks, the gas station (to see our friend Sherri!), the Redbox rental at the Dollar Store on 5th (yes, we’ve often gone for a run in summer just to get a movie from the Redbox), and back home from all of these locations.

Of course, he’s gotten harder to push and now that he talks he likes to “direct” where we run and also to tell me to “go faster” or “go up the hill, momma”. He used to just fall asleep during a race or run. Some days I wish he would still fall asleep, but most days I enjoy the company and the conversations we have! We both have good and bad running days, and will cut our run shorter or go longer depending on our moods on that particular day.

Our Runs
I’ve lost count of how many runs and races we’ve done together, but I’ll recap some that stand out.
Our longest run together to date is 8 miles and it was the last long training run I did for my marathon training last fall. The marathon was a HUGE deal for me and I needed to include him somehow because he’d gotten left for many of the training runs simply because of the distance that I needed to run, so this was my way of doing so.

Will and I after our 8 mile run around town

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon with my #1 fan!

Of course I had them place the "necklace" on him.

Our favorite run to do together is the Y’s Run to Read. I like it for several reasons. 1.) It’s the only run we’ve done together every year since he was born. 2.) We like to books, so getting to pick a book at the end makes it a little extra special! And 3.) Will gets to run in his own race, which makes it a little bit easier to get through the 5k without him wanting to get out and run.

Three years of Run to Read
Will loves races where he gets to run as well. Most of the time, I let him get out of his stroller and we cross the finish line together. Some races, though, have a “dash” option for kids, so he gets to run his own race! (As you can see, he also likes to dress up – December 2014 was so fun for us because we had three jingle bell runs we got to dress up for!)

Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 2014
My favorite run with him was the Glow Run St Louis. So we could be seen (and because the run was in the dark), my husband zip-tied glow sticks to each spoke and around the outside of the stroller. It was really neat seeing the wheels turn with the glow sticks on there – we got several compliments! And Will got his first “necklace” that night!

Glow Run 2012
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Our worst race to date is the first 5k that I decided I would take Will along. It was the Union Founder’s Day 5k. My. Worst. Race. Ever. Not only was the course poorly marked for the 5k (I had done the 10k the year prior and it was great), but it was HILLY and though I knew I wouldn’t be where I was before I had him, I was still sad about my time and that because it was poorly marked, we didn’t even get to do 3.1 miles. But I was just ready to get back into running so this just gave me an extra push I needed to get back into the swing of things!

We used to be able to run with our boxer Chloe as well, but she's older now and can't go very far.
We even enjoy getting out in the cold weather sometimes! The rain shield for the stroller not only protects from rain/snow, but it keeps it nice and toasty inside so we don’t have many excuses for not getting out!

Keeping warm at the Thanksgiving Day 10k 2014-- no excuses!
 Last summer, we also got a bike seat for our bike so that when mom doesn’t feel like running but we need to get out, we can go for a ride instead! Maybe if I can find someone to teach him to swim (as I don’t know how to), I can make him a triathlete!  

Will and I at Cranksgiving 2014
If you have a little one, I highly recommend getting them out and getting active with them – especially running! It’s a great bonding experience! I also think it’s helped me keep going with my running and setting new goals for myself. If I ask Will if he wants to go for a run and he says “yes” there’s no turning back - we are headed out to run! Sometimes I ask him knowing that I don’t want to go yet knowing he’ll say yes just so that I get out and go. He is my accountability.

So if you’re ever out and see us running, give us a wave or thumbs up - especially if we’re going up a hill – sometimes I need some extra encouragement to keep going – as most of us do at times! And if you’re out running and you’re bored and you see us, come join us! We’re slower, but I’ll even let you push the stroller for a little while. Will can tell you all kinds of stories, sing you songs and ask you a MILLION questions. I guarantee you won’t be bored! And you’ll get an extra workout from pushing him!

Want to get to know Tegan better? Check out her Runfie Questions!

What brought you to DRC? I actually saw that one of my friends had posted on the DRC page. I was curious and interested in getting to meet other runners in the area. And I'm glad I did. This is the most active winter I've had! Even though it's been mostly on my treadmill, the treadmill has been in the same spot since we bought it about five years ago, so I've had no excuse not to use it.

What is the strangest thing you've seen while running? When we were training for our marathon, my friend and I decided to take a long run on the Katy. Several miles in, we noticed these small piles of what looked like animal poo. Every so often. Right in the middle of the trail. Some looked like berries but we're pretty sure they weren't berries. We never did figure out what it was. (If you know - please let me know).

Favorite running quote / mantra? "No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch."  I like to remember this because I'm far from fast. I'm far from where I hoped to be at this point. But, when I get going, I'm going and not sitting around!
"When someone tells you you can't, turn around and say 'watch me'" - I like this one because my husband knows one way to push me to do something he knows I can do but I am doubting myself is to tell me I can't do it. That lights my fire!