I remember a time, not too long ago, when heading out for a run was simple. A pair of shoes and some shorts was all I needed to hit the road. No planning required. Night or day, cold or hot, snow or sun...it didn't matter. If Nicole and I felt like running, we went.
Then came baby!
Many of you read the article Nicole wrote about her experiences running through pregnancy, Running for Two. She was quite a trooper, running comfortably even through the last months. As a matter of fact, she was out running at Warrior's Path the morning of Sept 13th, just hours before she went into labor. To say the least, my days of being able to complain about aches and pains while running are over. She wins, hands down, no contest!
Our beautiful daughter was born in mid-September. Literally overnight, our lives changed. Focus shifted, priorities rearranged. Turns out, for the Goodman family, running through pregnancy was far easier than running through infancy! Nicole was out of commission for a few weeks. The baby was up frequently throughout the night. Running motivation tanked!
At six weeks, the pendulum began to swing back the other way. Ella was strong enough to support her head, and we were able to bundle her up in a jogging stroller. The first run was nerve racking. Was that bump too rough? Is the sun in her face? Is she too cold, too warm? Is it too windy?
Turns out, our fears were unfounded. Consistently, within ¼ mile of starting a run, Ella was out like a light. The gentle rocking and swaying of the stroller was just enough to quickly send her off to dream land.
But with our new, tiny running partner, our jogs suddenly became more complex. We now required detailed plans before starting a run. Runs had to be scheduled in between naps and feedings. The weather conditions had to be just right, the route had to have little traffic and smooth roads. Our gear went from the simplicity of shorts and shoes, to a full diaper bag of baby accoutrements, jogging stroller gear, and blankets.
But without a doubt, the additional complexity is worth the time we get to spend on the road with our daughter. The smile on Ella's face at the end of our run (nap, in her case) is priceless. It’s an activity we can enjoy as a family (even the dog gets out of bed to join us on occasion), and we hope Ella will continue to enjoy our family runs as she gets older. Today, as parents struggle to get kids outside and away from computers and TVs, we hope these early runs will lay the groundwork for an appreciation of physical activity in daily life. And for Nicole and I, running with our daughter has reminded us that running is about more than cutting a few seconds off your next race. It's a chance to spend time with friends and loved ones. Run on!