When my mom asked if I thought I’d use a jogging stroller I said without hesitation that I would. I was excited when my parents offered to get us one. Last winter, my dad assembled it and upon returning home for a visit I saw it in the living room. The formal living room that is where it stood like a proud showpiece. It was very cool. Immediately, I had to try it out, but being pregnant and inside a house one could say I didn’t get the full experience. I couldn’t wait until Abigail reached the six month mark where I could load her in and set out on a brisk jog around the neighborhood. Abigail was sure to like the ride and as an added bonus I’d be getting back in shape. I had seen tons of moms out with their joggers running around so effortlessly. It seemed so simple. Lace up sneakers, secure baby in stroller, run. This was going to be great!
Except that it isn’t simple. Take today’s run for example. I’d been waiting since last Wednesday for this day. There among the typical rain, rain, rain, rain/wind forcast was a peek of sun and only a 20% chance of rain. Each day for almost a week I got on the website hoping that the little sun graphic would still be there. We woke up early and went about our morning routine at top speed. Abigail was content and Hank was snoring, opportunity was knocking. I found my clean running clothes waiting oh so patiently for me on the drying rack. I got dressed and scrambled to find my shoes. Hank’s sixth sense prompted an abrupt wake up from dreamland. He took one look at my shoes and started getting all wiggly. My sneakers which mean R-U-N to me mean W-A-L-K to him. Darn it, I thought. I guess I should walk him around the block first. I got the jogger out of the garage and went back inside to put Abigail in her coat and mittens. Hank was on his leash pressing his nose against the door, tail thrashing about. I took Abigail out first to load her in and felt the big, splashing drops. Within a minute it was raining. “UGH! Stupid Oregon. Stupid rain. REALLY!?” I yelled as I stomped back inside, but not before my neighbor, Ed, said. “Morning!” I always have really awesome timing like that.
Inside I sat there watching the steady rain. Was it too much to ask for this one thing to remain constant in my life? Running here had been harder to manage, but I had been faithful. I took the jogging stroller along even though instead of making me feel strong and amazing it made me feel awkward and out of shape. I ran seemingly in place as strong winds pushed us backwards. I found the routes that were more gradual inclines so that Abigail would not be sent flying down a canyon. I tried not to be frustrated at the start/stop nature my runs had to take as I worked through the grid of Newport.
I kept my running shoes on, but slowly came to the realization that I might have to start running at the Rec Center. On the treadmill. Around 2:00 there was a break in the rain. I still had on my shoes. I grabbed Abigial, told Hank I was sorry about the W-A-L-K, and tossed him a milkbone. Three miles and 6 hours later we were finished. I got the mail out of the mailbox and there it was. My first issue of my brand new subscription to Runner’s World magazine. I had forgotten that I had ordered it from a fundraiser for my nephew’s school. Inside were some of the most inspiring profiles of some very extraordinary runners. And while I don’t feel in any way close to the caliber of those people, I, too, realize that each time I manage to fit in a run it is about more than clocking better times and more mileage. It’s about perserverance.