I ran my first race as a Sophomore in high school. I remember the racing of my heart, the jolt of the gun and the pounding of the ground- as hundreds of teenage girls took off in a mad fury. I was sold in seconds, so much adrenaline and so much excitement!
In college, I ran my first road “race”- the Tulsa Run 15k. Again, my heart raced, the gun shot off and this time thousands of feet pounded the pavement. There was live music and banners, water stations and costumed runners- so much to to take in. So much to celebrate about Tulsa. I was sold on a new kind of race!
6 months ago, as a Mom of two, I packed my kiddos up and ran my first “race event”. My heart didn’t race this time, I was too concentrated on keeping track of two rambunctious little ones. When the gun shot off, my kids squealed and I smiled. Feet hit the pavement and the wheels of the stroller gripped the ground; but, the thing that excited me the most, was hearing my three-year-old chant, “Go Mommy, Go!… Go Mommy, Go!”
It was exhilarting in a whole new way and I was sold again to this new kind of race.
All across the country, race events are being offered in a family friendly way. Strollers, walkers, kid runners- are all welcomed. If you haven’t done one with your family, you should! My kids love to cheer for the other runners and I even let them out to run a bit on their own. Norah thinks of herself as a world-class-racer at the spry young age of 3!
The first race event we participated in was the Color Run 5k. Here is a link to my synopsis. Norah STILL talks about this run and how Mommy had pink hair for days (if this has happened to you, patience is the game. Within 3 days and after 6 washes the color was gone.)
The second race event we did was the Glow Run 5k. Daddy got to participate in this run. The kids loved the Glow Sticks and Norah went to sleep that night holding all 10 glow sticks we had collected during the race.
Most recently, I took the kids to Lifetime Run Club for a special run event. They had a toddler race (both kids got to participate in this one!) and then we ran about 5miles with with a group of 350+ runners from the club.
I look forward to many more race events with my kiddos in the future! I love that they get excited about something that I love and I hope that it builds a healthy view of both exercise and competition.
Racing with a stroller and kids is much different from racing on your own. If you are a runner, keep in mind that race events are not about a meeting your splits or setting a PR. If you are a non-runner, focus on the fact that there are LOTS of walkers, LOTS of strollers and LOTS of families at these events… you are in good company.
I may be a little biased to running and I recognize that I am slightly addicted to outdoor exercise, but I still urge all moms to try a race event. I promise the memories and smiles will be worth the adventure!
Here are some tips to make it do-able:
1. Water: pack lots of water, more than you would think is needed. Between the Oklahoma heat and waiting in a packed-out holding area for the gun to go off, my one and three-year-old guzzled a 28+ oz of water before the race even began.
2. Snacks: things in containers, finger food, and anything that takes them a long time to eat. Apples and carrots are my favorite options- the kids nibble on them for a long time and in the heat, they are refreshing.
3. Running Shoes: make sure your kids wear running shoes too. That way they can run with you for a bit and you don’t have to worry about them tripping, getting toes run over or loosing a shoe.
4. Time: running with a stroller and looking for ‘holes’ to fit threw throughout the course makes for a much slower pace that you would anticipate. If kids run, that’s a whole other time allotment too. Give yourself about 3hrs from arrival to leaving the course- you want to stay for the after-running party!
5. Patience :): there is a LOT of waiting during race events. They are usually packed out and the gun goes off every 5min for a new wave; for this reason, I suggest either getting right close to the front or just waiting in the back for the crowd to clear. The hardest part of a race event is waiting in a very claustrophobic holding area.
Check out these fun races:
Let me know of any exiting races, in the Tulsa area, that I may be missing!
Happy Running 🙂