Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting it done (with old equipment)

I've been meaning to put this post together for a while and it kept escaping me, but today, I'm spotlighting one of the tools in my arsenal for running with a baby. Running with kids is tough - balancing running while having an infant is one of the hardest things I've done. Babies are needy, but this my second baby and I have definitely learned some lessons, including - being a good mama requires good skills at self-care. Right or wrong, no matter how much you love your husband and how dedicated a father they are, in a typical relationship a lot of the parenting falls got it, mommy. No knock on my husband - he is a wonderful father. But I'm definitely the primary caretaker for everyone in this house, which means my time is pretty booked - and if I don't carve the time to take care of myself and my health, no one is going to do it for me.

Worth it though :) 6 months, 17 1/2lbs, 28 inches! My big boy!

So how do you fit it in? At first with a newborn - you don't. In addition to the healing you need to do after birth, whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, newborns are so needy and your sleep is so broken that you just really don't. I had my first post partum run right after Miles turned 6 weeks old (and it was hard! But that's not the point of this post...), and while I had aspirations of running 3-4 times a week again, or more, that didn't happen. Instead, once or maybe twice a week became the normal.

Gradually as he got bigger I was able to put him in the sling and workout on the elliptical with him, but it wasn't running, that's for sure.

Now that he's older and his schedule is more reliable, I can run when my husband is home to watch him or grab him as he wakes up from naps - but while that's the perfect solution for weekend long runs, it's not perfect for building up mileage. That's where today's tool comes in handy:

Were you expecting to see a jogging stroller here?

That, folks, is my love it - hate it - treadmill. There are a lot of disadvantages to it.First, it has no console. It is not an electric treadmill like you'd find in a gym. It's manual, which means the only thing that makes it move legs.

Second, no console mileage read out. So how do I know how many miles I've run? Well - honestly - I don't. At some point I think this had a battery operated console that guesstimated your mileage for you, but that was many owners ago. I guess, plain and simple, and I guess conservatively. I assume that every time I hit 12 minutes I've run a mile, so I run in increments of 12. With my current pace it's likely I'm hitting more than I give myself credit for and I'm okay with that - I figure the time counts no matter how "far" I end up going or what I end up logging!

And third, I can't get a picture of it that reflects this, but this thing is angled down...which means to run, you're running /up/. Not huge steep hill like running, but more like the soul-sucking gradual inclines that sneak up on you.

Oh treadmill, my treadmill...

But! It definitely has its pros. First, it was FREE. I got it off my local freecycle a few years ago, and promptly shoved it in the garage not to see the light for a while. But as I got more into fitness and running, this freebie started logging some miles with me.

And second, it's in my house. That means when baby boy is napping I can sneak a few miles in. Obviously I can't leave him, but those nap times are mine to use!

Third, it's inclined. Like I mentioned above. Hey it's a pro/con (cro? pron?) - because as much as it means it's harder, it also means, I'm getting stronger running on it. I suspect it's working slightly different muscles than when I run outside so maybe it's not exactly like logging miles outside, but running to a degree is running and being stronger here means I'm noticing that tackling those hills outside is getting much, much easier.

So yeah. My treadmill isn't fancy. It isn't one that I'd want to do a long run on, but - it does what it needs to, helping me balance motherhood with running and keep my body healthy and strong. So as much as sometimes I hate, I'm giving it props!

What about you? If you're a mom, how do you balance motherhood with being a runner? And if you're not, how do you fit workouts in when timing gets tough?


  1. <3 Healthy Momma's

    I'm sure that treadmill makes you so much stronger, and helps you run faster because it's forcing you to propel yourself. Sometimes these things are bittersweet, aren't they?

    As Aviva got a little older than Miles, and was able to keep herself happy, I kept a toy box that was *only* for workouts. I still have said box (or basket, as it were). It has toys that she absolutely adores the most, to keep her interest the longest. Also, when we get new toys, many of them go in this toy box first, before being absorbed into the every day "normal" toys that have lost some interest.

    As a side point, it has also made me feel like the toys get more use and more meaningful use because they don't just get tossed with all the other toys right away, soon to be forgotten. They get utilized to their fullest, explored, tinkered with, manipulated in more ways, multipurposed, etc than toys that went in the community toy box right away.

    Having a toy box that was devoted only to working out, actually made HER interested in my workouts!! Case in point- Right now I have a sandbox in her toy box. It's a tub lined with colored sand (yep, I have to sweep after workouts- but she loves to help with that too!), rocks, toy shovels, cups, etc. She actually gets a little upset when my workout is over, because she loves playing with it. an hour of sandbox just isn't enough I guess! That part is a little sad, but easy to get around because after a workout I shower, and that means she gets a piece of fruit (apples are her current fav). I have a clear shower curtain and have her in the bathroom with me so I can watch her well too.

    When I don't have new toys, I rotate. That seems to make old toys new again. I grab toys that she hasn't played with in a while, or I grab things from the kitchen or other areas of the house (things that are not toys, per-say, but every day items we take for granted but are new to them). When I first started this (after the ergo workouts) I actually used more kitchen supplies than kids toys. Spatulas, bowls, pans, pots, etc. She LOVED having "Mom's toys." And actually, when she would get upset as a baby, we ran to the kitchen because kitchen toys could pull her out of most tantrums too!

    1. Bittersweet is a good sum of my relationship with my treadmill! I am so so glad to have it, even if occasionally I suffer from a wandering eye with all the fancy new treadmills out there.

      I love the rotating toy box idea!! I totally you on fb but that is -definitely- something I will need to do!

  2. When my son was little I did a ton of my running on our treadmill after he went to bed. It was just so much easier than trying to figure out how to run outside. Honestly I didn't hate it! I would find something on TV I wanted to watch and just run. Now that he is older I will go run late evening while him and my husband hang out. If it is a long run I will usually do those early on the weekend before anyone gets up. It's my me time that I told my husband I have earned from all my treadmill runs when our son was younger! :)

    1. My guy is still a bit too little for that to work, but once he gets older I think that would be really tempting if I end up with a real treadmill some day. Can he just stay little forever though? This is going too fast!

      And yes you have definitely earned it!

  3. being a single momma, I have done most of my training on the dreadmill. V is finally old enough to go out for 3..but not more than that

    1. Makes total sense, and it's so nice to be able to run with your little! I love how my daughter chatters when we run :)

  4. I call mine the "dreadmill". We have a love/hate relationship.

    I often squeeze in a run whenever I can. Sometimes I'll be driving home from clinical or work and I'm like, "the sun is out, it's warm, I'm gonna take advantage" I also have the advantage of having a teenager, so he's cool with me being gone longer...what teenager isn't?

    As far as getting to run as much as I'd like to, I don't. My schedule this semester has been crazy, and we've had a hard, long, cold, often snowy, winter, so I've been hanging out inside where it's warm! (But totally NOT on the dreadmill!!!) But that's all about to change soon!!! **fingers crossed!!!**

    1. Nursing school is a HUGE time commitment, I am amazed you get runs in at all!

      And yes I am SOOOO ready for spring. Here, spring spring spring...