Sunday, July 27, 2008

Choosing a Jogging Stroller

If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me about what type of jogging stroller I think is best...I would have at least a dollar. But that is a lot of times to write the same email. If only I had saved them...

Anyway, here are my thoughts on jogging strollers:
1. Terrain: Do you primarily jog on smooth roads or bumpy trails? Knobby tires will only require more energy to push so you don't need them if you aren't on bumpy roads that require greater traction and resistance to flats. Furthermore, though suspension sounds great, unless you are actually running on very bumpy terrain, it will just make more work for you to push through the suspension in order to make turns. Your kids can take it.
2. Storage: No problem here if you just roll it into the garage, but if you have to fold and/or carry the stroller at all, consider weight, ease of collapse and folded dimensions. Stick with 16" wheels rather than 20" which will take up much more space.
3. Cost: You could easily spend over $500 on a double stroller, but consider if you really need that. If you anticipate that your stroller will get relatively light use, there is no need to buy the most expensive on the market.
4. Wheels: The swivel front wheel makes turning easier if you primarily walk, but it is inferior to the fixed front wheel for running. Though you can usually lock the swivel wheel into place, the chances of it tracking crooked are greater than a fixed wheel and these strollers are often heavier.
5. Uses: Is this stroller exclusively for exercise or does it also go on errands and such? Lots of storage space and pockets plus a slimmer width for doorways are both helpful if this stroller is going to the grocery store.
6. Separate sun shades: If you have 2 kids, you'll want to be able to adjust seat backs and sun shades separately.
7. Accommodating an infant seat: Personally, I consider this totally unnecessary. How fast do you really think you are going?
8. Where to buy: has a huge selection and fantastic customer service.

Some brands to consider:
Baby Jogger Performance strollers are ideal for high mileage road runners.
The cost of a BOB stroller is not necessary unless you actually run on trails - which I do without a BOB anyway.
Dreamer Design and Kelty are good compromise options.
In Step is a good low cost alternative, but may not hold up well to heavy use.
Would YOU want to be the kid in the bottom seat of a Phil and Ted stroller?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Non-running blog...sorry....need advise of on-line buddies

Ok.... I decided to re-enter the work force. Only 8-12 hours a week as a clinical nursing instructor at the local community college. I accepted the job and then, and only then noticed the other clinical instructors name on the schedule..........
Have you ever had a co-worker that just rubbed you wrong in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY??? I mean really...... I don't like to use the word "hate", but I really get that feeling when I am around her. Well, I should say, I haven't seen or worked with her in over 5 years..............
What should I do?? I almost turned the job down, but is is a good stepping stone to better instructor positions in the future...
Please help and tell me how you'd all handle such a mess!!

Ice Marathon

Are you tough? No, really, are you tough? Could you do this?

Well, could you?

Having run in sub-zero temperatures, I suspect that the suits needed to keep warm initially would at some point become excruciatingly uncomfortable and the focus of the run would become a concentration on temperature, with everything else forgotten.
Which might actually make the run bearable.

I'm all about allowing my mind to escape. Otherwise I might find myself weighted down by that daily marathon we all run.

How tough are you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That's your baby, Mama

The first time we flew together, she was one year old and two days. That flight was from Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas, Texas followed by a puddle-jump to Midland. The first flight, from Frankfurt, was over 9 hours long and the little angel didn't fall asleep until 45 minutes before the plane landed. She didn't fuss and scream, she was just awake and very alert and in the final stages of learning to walk. The armrests were perfect, and so we toddled...up and down and up and down...the aisles of that plane for HOURS.
I was a much younger woman then, just beginning to appreciate the beautiful gift of exteme patience being taught to me moment by infuriating moment.
Airline rules were different then, too. I won't write now of my first international flight post 9/11. Just know that I cried once we got past security and into the sequestered area of Frankfurt's airport reserved for airlines of American origin.
A significant change in flying, one that I'm sure would have sent my cup of patience overflowing is the need for child restraints.

I wish you great peace of mind if you are going to be traveling with a young one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

too late, Philly Marathon

Really, I am a blog mommy blog blogger. Really. I just have not written for a long, long time. I never got around to race reports from the National Half-Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, the George Washington Parkway Classic, the Capitol Hill Classic... I'm sorry. And now it is too late. Ah, well. I'll get on it next time. Next race is the Sun Herald City to Surf in Sydney.

But now I have done something that scares me a bit: I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23. Hm. I have not run a marathon in six years -- not since getting married and having kids. I run a lot, and I have a good strong base. I am as fast as I was when I ran my first marathon in 1999. But marathons are scary. From personal experience, I know anything can happen after about 18 miles. No matter how well-trained one is.

I ran one fabulous marathon, my first, in NYC. I did not finish my second in NYC. Then I finished, but had a truly miserable time after about 19 miles, the Washington DC Marathon (the one in March of 2002 that had only one official running; the race organizer went bankrupt the next year). Half marathons are fun -- and tough -- but not out of control. I love half marathons.

So I am scared. But I am going to do it. I think. I hope. What training plans do people swear by? I have a strong base now -- I can cover 12 miles "easily", and I even completed 15 a week ago. Week one of an 18-week plan starts on August 4 -- when I will be away in Sydney, Australia, (alone with my 13-month-old) sorting and clearing my mother's apartment. So I can't get crazy-serious until I return, on August 13.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crumbs: Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Last week, upon realizing I had a Sprint Triathlon in 5 days, with nary a training plan in site, I flipped out and completed a Brick Workout to end all Brick Workouts. (Okay, exaggerated a bit, but in my mind, I was in the Olympic Trials.)

In keeping with the idea of a "
tri," I hopped on my bike and sprinted the 3 miles to my gym, swam for 30 minutes straight, headed to the treadmill for 3 miles, then sprinted home on my bike.

I was exhausted...and couldn't walk the next day. So...back to tapering. And by tapering, I mean not
exercising at all. No amount of training could help me just a few days before an event...if anything, it would just fatigue my muscles, so I changed my attitude about this race.

You see, I'm moving out-of-state in 3 weeks. My good friend and running buddy talked me into this race as a "last hoorah." This would probably be my last chance to see the people I've confessed more to than my husband and all those folks who I feel like I know because we see each other on the trail or at races. I began to accept that I wouldn't break any of my records, so I might as well just enjoy the ocean view while I have it. It was a "Farewell to Miami Party" and I was going to try to have fun.

And amazing things happened.
  • I slept great the night before. (Traditionally, before races, my mind competes against my body: nightmares about oversleeping, getting lost on the race route or not being able to find the starting line.)
  • I didn't want to vomit at the starting line. When the gun went off, I jumped in and actually swam freestyle (normally, my heart pounds SO hard in fear that I can't breathe, so I do the backstroke).
  • I started passing other women on their mountain bikes and even some road bikes.
  • On the run, I didn't feel like taking walk breaks. Instead I chit chatted with runners around me.
  • I didn't long for the end of the race to come.
I had actually competed with the attitude that "This is recreation!" (Something I have often preached but more often forgotten on race day.) And, as I checked the scores, I was even astonished that I placed 3rd in my division.

I think I have found my perfect training plan!

(sorry -i'm having font/size issues!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beach Running......with the double!!!

Yes!! I am alive! We safely moved to NC and now live on a lovely island. I miss my SMR friends in VA sooooo much. I was afraid my motivation to run would wither up and die.....alas.....It didn't!! I've been hitting the road and beach several times a week and having a great time. Of course, since I am new to the area and have no pre-school to scurry one of the little tikes off to, I am pushing the double stroller. Last week I found a 3 mile route that includes one mile on the beach. Admittably, it is a little struggle to get the stroller over the dry sandy area to the wet compacted sand, but once it is there it is heaven. The little guys like to get out and "run" the beach area which at first I fought, but now we just delight in that part of our "run" until they wear out and climb back in. We re-emerge at the community club house that has an outdoor shower area to rinse off in. At that point I feel like a 16 year old boy with his first car.....I rinse my stroller thoroughly, then once home I dry her off with a soft cloth as to avoid the corrosion of the salt air....
Anyways, if anyone has any pointers on beach running, I'd love to hear them. In my new community most of the other runners are in their 50s and 60s which makes me the youngster.....gotta LOVE that....maybe that is why my motivation hasn't withered away!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Mommies Blog

To all the wonderful Readers of See Mommy Blog -

It may not be clear if you're stopping by the blog for the first time, but there are over a dozen contributors to the See Mommy Run blog. You might say that it should be called See Mommies Blog. If you look down at the very bottom of each post, you'll see the author's name. Also, a list of us all can be found just to the left.

Just a small explanation for those who wondered if schizophrenia was at play here.

Crumbs: I'm Home! Oh, God, I'm Home!

I've been on tremendous 10 day vacation to Portland, Oregon.
Oh, Pacific Northwest, how I love you so!
You bike, you run, you walk, you kayak, you hike, you have public transportation!

Anyhow, I only slipped one delicious run in, but my training took a different twist. I had to carry my 43" inch tall, 45 lb 3 year old (yes...he measures as a 5 year old) around A LOT. I mean for many, many, many after day after day after day, etc. My arms & shoulders are still sore, but definitely stronger. Not the workout I'd recommend, but hey, just making lemonade.

Unfortunately, it was after several weeks of...well...casually exercise (to be generous), that I have recalled that I am registered for a sprint Triathlon this weekend. In 5 days, to be more precise.
Oh, God, I'm home...and have to compete complete!

So my training will effectively be backward: taper, taper, taper, panic & brick workouts 5 days in a row.

If I don't write by next Monday, send help.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How To Run Downhill

Pushing your jogging stroller uphill probably gets more thought than running downhill, but there are a couple important things to consider to run as quickly - and safely - as possible downhill.

How steep is the hill vs how heavy is your stroller? The first hill we go down at the start of our regular route is so steep that I actually walk backwards down it with the jogging stroller.

Generally, however, downhill is a great opportunity to cut a little time and to practice faster turnover (i.e. how quickly you put one foot in front of the other). This is just one of the reasons why jogging strollers have a hand brake and a runaway strap.

Even if it makes your arm get sweaty - ALWAYS USE YOUR RUNAWAY STRAP!

To use your hand brake effectively, you need to lean INTO it. As you squeeze the lever with your left hand, consider using only the palm of your right hand to push rather than gripping the handle which could inadvertently apply a downward force. This keeps the front wheel in contact with the ground (the only way the brake will work) plus it will put less pressure on your knees and keep your form better. You will maintain much more control than either trying to pull the stroller back or simply trying to run as fast as the stroller rolls.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My First Half-Marathon

What follows is the description (as listed on the website) of my first half-marathon, to be run in April of 2009:


The Escape Route: Escaping from Prison Hill is a daunting task….much like a real prison break. But before you are sent to “prison” you must do the crime! The first part of this course is a “crime”. For the first 3/4 mile you will find yourself on a fairly flat, dirt/gravel road that circles the interior of the Silver Saddle Ranch. As you complete this section of the race you get a little sloppy in your work and the authorities begin chase. Life gets a bit tougher here as you begin your initial ascent onto Prison Hill. You begin this section with a climb via single-track onto Prison Hill in an effort to thwart the authorities. For approximately the next 4-1/2 miles you are faced with a series of “small ups and downs” that will begin to test whether or not you even considered training for this event. Finally, you complete this section of the course (by thwarting the local authorities) and begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor…or so you think. You will now begin a descent along the western face of Prison Hill, approximately 1 mile. Once here, you continue to “live it up” along the mostly flat terrain for the next 2 miles, thinking that you will never get caught.

Ha!! You fell right into the arms of the authorities. Someone is going to prison. If you are doing this event solo, it is you. If you are part of a relay team then your partner is going to prison. The next 1/2 mile is a series of short, fast, rolling hills that bring you to “Prison”…a 1 mile ascent on the south slope of Prison Hill with 800 feet of altitude gain. Once at the top you realize that you just can’t stand it anymore and you begin your “ESCAPE”. You begin with a spectacular descent down the south-eastern slope towards the Carson River, thinking that by dousing yourself in the river you will lose the dogs that are following your scent. For approximately 1-1/2 miles you try to evade your followers but it doesn’t work. They’re hot on your trail. You make a dash across the Mexican Dam and run a flat course back towards the Start/Finish thinking that you’d be lost in a crowd. It begins to work…for 1-mile that is. Just when you think you’ve eluded the authorities you’re faced with one last challenge. You begin a 1/4 mile ascent on a single-track that actually takes you away from the finish. You can’t believe it. You ask yourself if it can get any worse. Actually, no! With just over a mile to go it’s mostly flat with a final 1/4 mile into the chute. You’re finally done! You’ve ESCAPED!

I chose this race because my father lives in Carson City and I thought this would make for a nice trip.

If anyone has any training tips, feel free to throw them at me! Right now I'm working on running to the tune of Free Bird--easy pace and then speed it up all the way through the guitar solo.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


People often equate pregnancy and/or labor with running a marathon (including Natalie Morales of The Today Show in the Aug 08 Runner's World). How much one buys into that probably depends on whether you've ever run a marathon, but one thing that is for certain is that both require MOTIVATION to stay positive!

During my second pregnancy, my two-year-old daughter came over to me in bed one morning, looks at me and says, "Are you mean mom or nice mom today?" That was a wake-up call! I guess I was pretty grumpy. So now I'm on my third and I am in an entirely different state of mind.

How does one stay motivated while running or otherwise? Can you see “the light at the end of the tunnel”? Sometimes seeing that n-1 mile marker or even the finish line is what you need. Of course, in pregnancy, the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is actually the headlights of an on-coming train!

So working out helps me stay positive about the tail end of pregnancy. I stay motivated to work out because I know how much easier it will be to recover post-baby. I stay motivated to push that HEAVY jogging stroller because it is making me so much stronger and faster whenever I have the chance to run stroller-free. And I stay motivated to race because I am just so darn competitive. The faster you run, the faster you’re done!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Now that I've found it, I'm not sure how I ever lived without it! Just what in the heck is she talking about, you're wondering. The Snotspot! I cannot wait to try this product out!