Running with kids

A great way to teach your kids how to be active is to run with them. When you're ready you can sign them up for race. There are many events around the city with distances suitable for little ones or if you have a jogging stroller you can take them that way. IMG_4670 (Small)

My oldest did his first race in the stroller when I was pregnant with the youngest. Last year was their first race - a 1K in my neighbourhood. It doesn't sound far, but when you're 2 and easily distractable, it is!

IMG_4673 (Small)

Both kids crossed the finish line (the oldest in the pack, the youngest was the absolute last one to finish) and collected their medals. You should have seen their faces - the sense of accomplishment and pride. I will admit to shedding some tears.

IMG_4678 (Small)

This year we've already done one race with them - a 1 miler - and have signed them up for another 1K later in June.

IMG_1051 (Small)

There are so many options in Ottawa - from walking and running races to triathalons and more. A great program is Somersault which does all sorts of types of races and distances, but most big runs have a short family one as well. The Ottawa Running Club lists all the local races.

IMG_1045 (Small)

I encourage you to try out a race this summer. See if it's something your kids enjoy and maybe spark a love of running. If nothing else, you'll get out one day for a fun activity with your kids.

IMG_1055 (Small)

Have you signed your kids up for a race?

Cate's first race

by Laura As a part of our family’s commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle, we are always on the lookout for fun and active things to do as a family. Having struggled with weight issues our whole life, hubby and I are determined to encourage our children to eat healthy, stay active, and most importantly, have fun doing it.

Since the arrival of our second daughter, Maddie (15 months), we’ve noticed the importance of have special one on one activities with our eldest daughter, Cate (3). An afternoon alone can work wonders for her attitude the rest of the week.

Recently, hubby and I have taken up running (more of the former, less of the latter). We’ve done a few 5K and 10K races between the two of us. Much to our surprise, Cate had started to express an interest in running too and so in February we decided to sign her up for her first race!

I researched many of the races in the Ottawa area. Some of them were limiting since the kids have to run on their own, which is fine for a “there and back” kind of run, but some of these races are far too long for a 3 year old to do on her own. In the end, we decided that the 2K race at Ottawa Race Weekend was the best fit. This way, we could all sign up and run together.

In preparation for race day, Cate and I did a handful of practice runs. We talked a lot about what to expect at the race and how we had to train to make sure that we would be in good enough shape to run fast on the big day. I tracked each of our training runs with an app on my iPhone and we would check in with the map when she would start to get tired or distracted. She loved to see where we were on the map and it made it easier for her to understand how much we had left to go.

At first, it was a bit of a challenge to keep her interested in running, but soon I figured out that we could run from fire hydrant to stop sign to street corner. I watched her cues to stop and catch her breath but quickly set a new goal of when to start running again. When all else failed, I started running backwards, sideways, and skipping -  these were sure to get her playing around and not noticing that she wasn’t actually tired, just bored! I also made sure to bring water, especially on the hot days. Most of our training runs were about 1.5 kms, which really only took us about 15 minutes. Somehow, she talked about those 15 minutes all week long and continued to ask to go for another run.

Finally, the training was done and race day approached. We brought her to pick up her race shirt and bib (number). She even got to swipe her own timing chip to activate it. We toured the expo and she tried a bunch of the samples for health foods like organic granola bars, greek yogurt, and protein packed chocolate milk. She seemed to really get a kick out of the whole thing, knowing that she was just as much a part of it as anyone else.

When race day arrived, we headed downtown sporting our race shirt and bib numbers. Grandma and Grandpa watched over Maddie as Cate, hubby and myself headed over to the start line. Hubby hoisted her up on his shoulders so she could see the sea of people huddled around us – the look on her face was priceless. When the starting horn blew, the crowd started moving. We weaved our way through the crowd as a family and kept a good pace going on the way down Elgin Street. Once we turned on one of the side streets, Cate’s interest level waned and the heat increased. A few sips of water helped her to keep her spirits up and soon enough we were turning the corner to come back down the Queen Elizabeth Parkway in the dash to the finish line. Spectators had lined the street cheering us all on. Excitement was in the air and Cate just started motoring down the street!

We crossed the finish line as a family with our arms in the air and a time of 21 minutes and 3 seconds. Of course, Cate was .1 of a second ahead of the rest of us. There was cookies and Gatorade waiting on the other side – a real treat for this little girl! After catching her breath, we went on to collect our medals. What a treat!

We had a blast the whole weekend and really felt part of something so special to our city. Between the expo, the race, and the photos that followed the very next day, I can’t say enough about how well organized I found the whole weekend and I would highly recommend it to anyone - no need to be a runner to participate!

On another note, Cate has yet to take off her medal…

Laura is a Marketer by day and Mom by night. She recently returned to the workforce after spending a year dedicated to losing weight, getting fit, and of course, her new baby! Laura and her husband, Rob write about their trials and tribulations with weight loss, parenting, and everything in between over at lalaland

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monkey See, Monkey Do

by Kari My oldest daughter attended her first bike race at three months old; we were there to cheer on Daddy, she slept the entire time.  Since then, she has managed to travel the world, and often stayed awake, to cheer on Mommy or Daddy.  There was the Bermuda Marathon, Ironman New Zealand, and most recently a trip to South Africa for an eight day mountain bike race, Cape Epic.  It was only a matter of time before I signed her up for her own event; the National Capital Marathon (NCM) Weekend Family 2K Run seemed the perfect choice.  With 3700 participants, you can practically guarantee that your child will not be last!

I’ve participated in NCM events several times since moving to Ottawa, and I love them.  The energy in the air is intoxicating, no really, it is.  As she headed to the start line, I hoped she too, would feel it.  You are surrounded by thousands of walkers and runners; somehow this feels like a kinship or a special club.  The spectators are incredible and almost completely line this short run course; they shout encouragement, clap and wave colourful signs as you pass.  All participants get a race shirt, and all finishers get a medal – very popular with the young ones.  With the sound of the gun, her ‘race’ began and I’m proud to say she ran (jogged) almost the entire thing :-)  She loved it.

As an active city, Ottawa has no shortage of family runs, tris, and even bike races:

Whether you have a budding athlete or dawdler, I would encourage you to give one of these events a try or perhaps you’ll take part in the NCM Family Run next year.  If you know of any other events, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Kari is the mom of two girls, a 5 year old and a 1 year old.  She can be found frequenting free activities throughout the city in hopes it’ll tire them out enough to sleep through the night.