Thursday, September 13, 2012

My very first 5K

Running Color Me Rad
Now that we're seeing the first hints of autumn weather, I am eager to get back into running. Earlier this year, I ran my very first 5k, a huge accomplishment for a girl who always loathed running. To prepare for it, I was trying to get a good run in 4 or 5 days a week and, although I got plenty of support and encouragement from a lot of my friends & family, things were always a little tough when I had to put Rowan in a stroller in order to get that practice run in. I wanted to make her a part of the experience. Kids learn by example, so I knew that by seeing me working towards a goal, she would be getting a great foundation for her in the future. I mean, my mother used to do the Jane Fonda workout when my sister & I were little, and we still view Jane Fonda as the poster woman of beauty and physical fitness. Anyhow, here are a few tips that I found to be helpful in my journey to my first 5k.
  • Get your child excited about your goal. The race that I was practicing for was called Color Me Rad. I showed Rowan pictures of the race that I was going to run. The participants were intermittently sprayed with colors, so it looked joyous and exciting. We would pretend that we were about to get splashed with colors as we were training. It helped her visualize the race. And i think it made her supportive of my goal.
  • Give them something to do. I would often bring books, stickers, toys, or crayons on the run so she would have options. I even found her a cheap MP3 player and she listened to a Curious George audio book while I ran. Scavenger hunts are great, too. I like to run on the Delaware River canal path, so there are always locks and ducks and bridges and herons to look out for.
  • Reward them! This is key. I would often plan my run so we would end up at a park. She knew that she would get some good mom time in at the end of each run & that helped her to allow me the time I needed to get a good run in.  Sometimes we would pack a picnic. Sometimes we would bring a few pieces of chalk. But she knew that if she cooperated, we would be doing something fun for both of us at the end. If you don't have a park that you can run to, try to end at a friends house, a coffee shop, or any other place that will be fun for them. 
  • Let them get out of the stroller.  Rowan has always been an active child. She loves being a part of what's going on. And that was by far my biggest challenge in meeting this goal. Some days it seemed that no matter what I brought to entertain her, we would be 5 minutes into the run and she'd be crying to be let out of the stroller. I learned pretty quickly that sometimes you just have to let her run with you. Sure, she's not going to be able to run as far as I am (although, she's really quick. Sometimes she runs faster than me). But she's learning that running & exercise is fun. 'Race' you child to a tree or a bridge. Or run to each other and see who gets there faster. These little breaks in your routine can be rejuvenating. They can make you more ready & eager for your run the next day. And they'll definitely strengthen the bond between you and your child. After all, the family who plays together stays together.
  • Dress them up. Rowan always saw me getting my special running outfit on. So she'd want to get dressed up, too. Her outfit usually involved some necklaces and a sparkly shirts (I've included a picture of my 'personal trainer'). But getting her in the mood for a run always helped things.
  • Me, my friend Mary, and Rowan post race
    Rowan's Running Outfit
    Fast Little Feet
  • Bring them to your race! Rowan waited for me with her father at the finish line. I grabbed her right at the end and she finished the race with me. But as I was running, I saw whole families racing together. Some kids were in strollers. Some kids were walking. Next year, I'll run the whole thing with her one way or another. But even so, I'm glad that she was there at the end. And I know she was, too.
These ideas might not be revolutionary, but, from one parent to another, they helped me reach my goal & draw closer to my little girl. And I enjoyed every minute of it. 
Happy running!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Water Games

Today was back to school for most kiddos in our area but it was still a hot and muggy one.  Check out these six water games that we played this summer... there's still lots of time to cool off!  There is a fun take on the traditional duck duck goose called drip drip splash, along with fire and ice tag, water balloon sheet toss and regular toss and a water gun game called Mr. Fish Mr. Fish What Time Is It?