I personally love to run. But, I don’t consider myself competitive and running has meant different things to me at different times in my life. I wasn’t sure after my son was born how I would incorporate fitness/exercise with being a newly single, soon to be divorced mother, with an infant.
While pregnant I had countless daydreams of me pushing my son in his stroller as I went for a leisurely jog. But, like a lot of things- it just didn’t turn out that way.
In the summer of 2016, after a few failed attempts at various fitness programs I saw a local news article about a charity run that was near and dear to my heart. I signed up. I had not ran in years and now I had six weeks to be ready.
When I clicked register I was up for the challenge. Three days prior to the race (a 5k) I was in panic mode. The morning of the race I asked the universe to please send a thunderstorm my way so that I had a really good excuse not to go. But not even a cloud wanted to float by. So, I went.
I crossed the finish line, my first 5k completed in almost four years. I was SO proud of myself.
Running, toddlers and strollers oh my!
The next year brought a lot of changes into my life. But, I continued to sign up for 5k’s and run when I had the time. I remember barely completing a few of those races. I am the type of person who wants to finish a race running. No matter how slow that pace may be – completing it running/jogging/slow motion, whatever it takes, that’s important to me.
My confidence began to build. I signed up for an 8k and a 10k race. Now, for “real” runners this is nothing! For me, these were lofty goals and at times stressful. As a single mom with an ever-changing schedule I can’t just download the latest “how to” training manual and follow it to the T. As mom’s we have to wing stuff – and sometimes, that’s hard. Ok, it’s always hard.
Finally, I completed my 8k and 10k! Bucket list goals, folks. Bucket. List.
A little while after completing these races it dawned on me that I would not be able to keep up with my running or set new goals if I didn’t start incorporating my son into some of my training. Which meant…the dreaded stroller. I pulled it out of the closet, dusted it off, aired the now flat tires and a few weeks later away we went to our first neighborhood 5k together. And he had an absolute blast.
For the majority of the races my son participates in, he rides in the stroller until we are close to the end. He is our “team captain” and also likes being “the map.” When we are about .10 miles from the finish line I let him out of the stroller so he can cross the finish line by himself. His face beams with pride each time.
Incorporating fitness into family time can be difficult. But I am so happy that we did. We look forward to this time we spend together, I see my son build confidence and we have a ton of fun.
Getting started – the amazing resources in our community
What I wish I had known earlier on in this journey is that there are valuable resources available in our community to help children form active lifestyles and healthy habits. And for non-runners, no running required!
We recently learned about the St. Pete Run Fest Kids Training Program. With the support of community partners this handy guide outlines daily physical activities and healthy meal ideas for kids. You can register your child for free and even enroll them to participate in this program with your neighborhood YMCA, or your child’s PE class. Learn more about how to bring the training program to your school or home.
I started this program recently with my son at home. We’ve been adding more healthy meal options (hey, it’s much easier to get him to try a new food when I can say “but the training program says……”) and new types of exercise that I honestly hadn’t thought to do with my son, like squats and planks. I had no idea he was so strong!
The St. Pete Run Fest Kids Training Program is a community effort of St. Pete Run Fest a 2-day festival of fun that includes running events for all ages like the Lil’ Shrimp fun races for 1-2 year olds (that is going to be adorable!) A health and wellness market, local food, music, craft beer from 3 Daughters Brewing (yes, please!) and a FREE kid-zone presented by Great Explorations Children’s Museum who will have activities, games and crafts for all ages.
Whether you are looking to complete your first 5k, half marathon, want to watch your child(ren) enjoy a fun run or you just want to let the kiddos explore the Kid Zone this event has something for everyone.
I know my son and I are looking forward to it! What activities would your family enjoy? Comment below and let us know.
Oops, I almost forgot
Tickets are required for this event. Head over to our Facebook page for a chance to win some! Look for the pinned post at the top of the page and complete the entry steps for a chance to win tickets up to a $65.00 value.
We hope to see you there!