[All images shot by Sarah Johnson of Puddle Jumpin'.]
A treadmill ranks as one of the top tools for mother runner success: not only does it bust any it's-too-cold-dark-rainy-snowy-hot or I-have-no-childcare excuse, but it also keeps you honest. If you're supposed to run six quarter-mile intervals at an 8:00 pace, the treadmill will happily oversee that your legs and lungs burn appropriately. You'll nail each interval; not hit the first two, decide the second two are good enough at 8:15, and then just tell yourself, "at least I'm out here doing this" as your legs slow considerably during the last two. (And note: Those are just hypothetical examples. I never slow during speedowork.)
In fact, in our very unscientific poll, the treadmill ranks in the Top Five Must-Haves for Mother Runners.
1. Supportive sports bra
2. Right-for-you shoes
4. Running stroller (if you've got ankle biters still around)
5. Two, ahem, books: Run Like a Mother + Train Like a Mother
And since we're talking treadmills, I gotta gush about the NordicTrack Commercial 1750, a gym-quality, super quiet 'mill I am lucky enough to have living in my guest room right now. Here's what I love about it:
1. You can connect it to the Internet via iFit, and watch on the hi-def screen as you virtually run through the Australian outback or have Jillian Michaels bark at you.
2. You can connect your phone or iPad to it, then blast your tunes or a movie through the built-in speakers.
4. You can fold it up if you need more space.
6. You can thank the NordicTrack engineers who invented Runner's Flex, spring-encased dampeners on the belt that reduces the shock on your joints by 30%. (Or your knees can thank them: After an 8-miler on Sunday, my joints didn't complain once, which never happens when I run outside.)
We are beyond thrilled to be able to give away a NordicTrack Commercial 1750 (including shipping and installation) to one lucky mother runner.
How are we going to decide who gets to deck out in lush Runner's Flex? Through the five key ingredients of your running. Elements that, one way or another, define your running journey. Could be gear, could be routes, could be character traits, could be companions, could be races, could be anything that somehow relates to the miles you have—or want to—put in.
Here are my Five Ingredients:
1. A 3-mile run around the Central Park Reservoir: last run before 1997 NYC Marathon. I felt so legit.
2. Pink: Where I can run/ just as fast I can/to the middle of nowhere/to the middle of my frustrated fears
3. Fractures in my feet
4. Post-run shower: equal parts feelings of relief and elation
5. Don't think; just go
Here are Sarah's Five Ingredients:
1. Inspiring friends: Dorothy, who showed me how to get up and get it done; Julie A., the first woman I knew to run a marathon; Ellison, who has about 8 years on me but smokes me in every race; Molly who makes me laughs countless times every run; and many others.
2. The Streak. For better or worse, 5+ years of working out every.single.day taught me a thing or two about dedication (and, finally, about how crucial "rest" is in the equation).
3. Nature. I crave to be outdoors, soaking up the rain, the sun, the colorful flowers, the falling leaves, and the fresh air.
4. Flo Rida, Macklemore, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson. A peppy beat and fun lyrics.
5. Upbeat attitude: The finish line is just around the corner; Portland has perfect running weather; we're already at mile 4.8 of 6-mile tempo; I am stronger than I thought.
What's in your running recipe? Please let us know in the comments below; hitting reply will not enter you into the contest. You have until 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 18 to enter. Then a small panel of us (read: us + a few NordicTrack reps) will determine the winner, unless, of course, the ingredients are so good we just can't decide. Then we might put it up for you all to vote, as we did last year. (Hey, our hamstrings may not be flexible, but our small business is.)
A few more details: We will announce the winners of the previous four days of the 5K of the Holidays on Tuesday, December 17. (We'll also announce the winners of the Thule Chariot Cougar 2 then too, so if you haven't entered yet, jump on it!) Then we'll proclaim the lucky badass mother runner winner of the NordicTrack treadmill either on December 20 or 21. (See above: depends if we need a vote or no vote.) Got it? Good.
[Some fine print for this mighty fine prize.] This running giveaway sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of the United States (sorry, Canada and points beyond!). It begins on 12/12/13 and ends on 12/18/13; one winner will be announced on 12/20 or 21/13. One entry per person. The value of the prize is $2,499.00, plus delivery and installation. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.