As a mom, we are already always on-the-go. And now that my son is getting older, I am constantly chasing after him. But that doesn’t mean that I stopped chasing my own dreams as well—especially when it comes to running.
I absolutely love my role as mama, but I also identify as a runner. Sometimes I need to combine my two worlds together, taking him along in the jogging stroller for a weekday run or an early morning race. Sure, running solo is easier and my “Me” time, but I actually really enjoy completing races with my son.
As a woman, I am all about female empowerment. And as a mother, I know how important it is to have resources and community support when it comes to raising a child. Which is why I ran the Miles with Moms 5k, a race to benefit the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ, a nonprofit that does just this.
The seventh annual MCCNJ Miles with Moms5k was held on May 6 at Nomahegan Park. It was a warm, spring day but not too hot and sticky, the perfect running conditions. It was a stroller-friendly race, so I did push my little guy along the way.
There are a pre-race warm up with stretches and exercises, a feature a really like at races. It is important to warm up a bit before running race pace.
The event itself was really well organized, and very family friendly. The mile event started first, and as spectators, we got to watch the older kids run around the park at their lightning speed. There were plenty of adult runners and walkers, too.
Then it was go-time for the 5k. I was impressed with how many runners there were with strollers. We started towards the back of the pack, but there were a few instances where the road was a tight squeeze to fit us alongside other runners. There was one part in particular, over a bridge where only one stroller could fit. This meant it was really competitive at times.
I have to admit that I started off a bit fast at this one. I felt really competitive this race morning, and I did have some family as my cheerleading squad rooting me on, so I did want to perform well. But whenever I look down at my Garmin and see 7 or 8 minutes and change for my pace, I know that I am going to burn off fast if I don’t back down.
I did find my rhythm, but I will say I did really push myself this race. There were some stroller runners who passed me throughout the course, but I reminded myself that I am still faster than some and to just enjoy the run.
It was one of the first warmer weather races, too which felt like an adjustment. We did a loop around the park, throughout the back of the park and around again to do another loop to the finish line. Despite it being a bit muddy, there was plenty of trees and nature along the course. It was mostly flat with some inclines. Looking back, I wouldn’t say it was hilly, but while running I did feel the slight elevation changes throughout the course.
I crossed the finish line feeling strong and proud that I gave this one my all. I finished in 31:36, crushing my stroller 5k PR by 4 minutes back in February. This just goes to show you how well you can improve with consistent training.
My little guy slept the entire time like he does most of the time during my races. But having him part of this memory is priceless. To make it an even memorable event, I signed him up for the kids’ run. This was my little guy’s first ever race!
As a mother runner, I so want my son to love running. I love running races and seeing parents doing them while holding hands with their child. And since I am a race junkie I had to let my LO do it.
For his age group, it was a 20-yard dash out on the grass. The race organizers counted them down and off all the little ones went. I have to note that my little guy is usually very social and happy go lucky. As of late, he is on his I only want mommy phase and cries whenever a stranger even looks at him let alone speaks. While this is a phase for my 18-month-old, crying when in large crowds is not. He does not like loud clapping or cheering, and of course, every parent is there encouraging their 2-year-old on. Once the cheering started, the waterworks came. I tried my hardest to soothe him and opted to jog a bit with him to not hold up the event.
When we got close to the end I attempted to put him down again, legs clenched to wrap around me like a monkey, hands holding me as if saying never let go. Well, I did and he took a step before falling back on his butt with his booboo kitty crying face.
He did get a little medal like all the other kids, but his first race really did not go as I imagined. It was adorable though to watch all the age groups filled with little ones excited to run. It just wasn’t my guy’s day or his race. I am happy to say that he has done more kids runs where he actually enjoyed.
Awards were given to the top racers, and the post-race “party” was filled with fun. We didn’t stay, but there was lots of snacks, coffee, and raffles. There were kids activities by Tinkergarden, Creative Kids, Exercise Outside the Box, and face painting. There was even a DIY Mother’s Day gift and place to take photos.
There were photos taken by the race organizers that captured the event nicely and shared on its Facebook page. (My photos were taken by my Dad!) Parking was across the street at Union County College, which was convenient.
Overall, this was a great event for celebrating moms. It was a smaller race participant wise, but I liked the more intimate feel to it. Everyone was just out to have fun. With that said, the top finishers were super fast! I liked running with some many other stroller runners, and I am a sucker for kids events now that I am a mom. It was nicely organized, timely, and a good way to start the day.