Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Death by Double Jogger--Part I

At the beginning of this blog, I promised to talk about running, my calorie-burner of choice, but haven't gotten back to the subject lately. Actually, as you may have noticed, I haven't blogged at all in many, many, many months, so I thought writing about running would be a good re-entry to my blog.

(Oddly enough, while I am outside running, I think about what I would be writing in my blog that day. There is just a small disconnect between dreaming up witty prose and purposefully sitting down & actually typing something. Maybe that's where the busyness of having two kids comes in. Except that I can't use that excuse for the past 9 months. Anyway.)

Well, today I loaded up my precious Boy and Girl Bearcubs in our faithful double jogger. Wait, I should go back. I'm feeling compelled to give my opinion on jogging strollers, their usefuleness, what you should pay for them and their lifespan. Then I will tell you about today.

I acquired this Blue Chariot at one of my neighbor's garage sales. I talked her down from $50 to $35, as any earnest garage-saler would do. (She also flattered me by telling me I looked great for just having a baby--never mind that Lilly was 6 months old at the time and I was wearing a large t-shirt. But as you will see, I am the sucker because the I should get paid to push this thing.)

That said, I would still purchase said stroller at a garage sale. The single jogging stroller we bought new is great. (Before those of you with only one child think I am crazy for owning multiple strollers, bear in mind you will own at least 6 varieties during your childbearing years) It was top of the line, brand-spanking new, shipped directly to me after I won an eBay auction. The tires were big, the stroller was light, the ride was easy. However, I only used this over-priced Cadillac of baby joggers for 3 months. Between the time when Jackson could dutifully sit up without risking brain damage and the time I became pregnant with Lilly, therefore excusing myself from exercise for another 9 months, I in no way recovered the full value of this stroller.

So, two children later, I felt a certain savviness when I handed over mere pennies to my neighbor in exchange for a lifetime of torture.

There are certain ironies about double joggers that cannot be escaped. Primarily, the reality that once your children are old enough to sit contentedly for more than 20 minutes, their combined weight (plus the 25-pound jogger) makes it feel like you are pushing a boulder up an endless hill. The stroller companies, of course, do not tell you this, because otherwise no one would buy one. In fact, I read several reviews in "Runner's World" last month that made it seem like buying a stroller made running more fun. The reviewer even claimed to have run with one, but based on personal experience, I highly doubt it.

The biggest ailment of our stroller is that the left tire kind of tilts inward. It has even come off and rolled down the street in mid-run, but that is before I did some pounding on it to make it stay put. Turning, therefore, requires the strength of Hercules and my entire 6-pack that is hiding under a layer of flab.

Running uphill pushing around 100 pounds is painful. No one needs to testify to that. Yet another irony about the double jogger is that running downhill is also incredibly difficult. Bear in mind that I live in Colorado and the term "hill" is relative. This 100 pound beast on wheels virtually pulls me out of control down the hill once we pick up even the smallest amount of speed. My stride increases to unnatural lengths and I try to decide if I should let the kids crash head-on into the dog run or if I should tip them over sideways into the dirt and hope for a skiing-esque wipeout. Neither, I know, are good options, but I am trying to share with you how scary it is to run downhill with this thing.

Moms purchase these joggers, of course, because it is our only chance to work out. I either sit at home and try to get motivated by Gilad or go out and pound the pavement with my entrouage riding in front of me. The problem is that my pace slows so dramatically that I am not sure if it is still a good workout. My heart rate is elevated, but it seems my arms, not legs, are doing all the work. In fact, just yesterday, I had a guy on a unicycle pass me. I did not even make that up for effect. I was barely rolling along and here he comes, just riding around all leisurely while I was straining for every breath.

Jackson always asks me why I breathe so funny while I run. But I cannot explain it to him because I cannot breathe. Irony number three.

Also, most baby jogger manufacturers don't have a suggestion about where you should store your jogger. If you are very lucky, you have a 3-car garage or neighbors who don't mind if you leave things out in the front yard. Otherwise, you will probably have to hang up this beast. Be careful getting it down, though, because my husband hung ours so high that I can barely reach it and I still have a 4-inch scar on my shin bone where it fell on me last summer. Unlikely, I know, but just a word of warning.

So here is my summary of the baby jogger experience: Do not do what I did. The tires were small, the stroller was heavy, and the ride was bumpy. Buy a used single jogger since you might use it for such a short window of time. Save all your Benjamins for the double jogger, because you need all the bells & whistles you can get. And even then, it will still be harder than you ever imagined.

This is taking longer than I thought, so I'll continue the portion about today's actual run, tomorrow.


Andy Rowell said...

Hysterical and well-written. Could this fit in an Amazon review of a jogging shoulders with a link to your blog? You would get lots of readers!

Andy Rowell