I didn't actually run with four kids, but I have four kids and have to find time to run around their schedules. The three "big" kids go to Day School on Tuesdays and Thursdays less than half a mile up the street.
I loaded my two year old twins into the double jogging stroller, strapped Axel, who will be 8 months tomorrow, into the Bjorn and took Lucia, my 4 year old by the hand. I loaded all the back packs and lunch boxes into the back of the stroller and off we went to school. We try to walk to school on nice days and the kids really enjoy it. I use a Sit and Stand Stroller sometimes because I can fit all four kids on it if I need too! The only problem is pushing all four, or even three up the street is a work out in itself since it is an incline all the way to school. We have to cross a busy main road, so I need control of all my little people. You never know what is going to set them off running, so it is important for me to have them all contained incase someone drops a hair bow or a toy or see's a leaf or a squirrel, they can't stop or go running after it on such a busy street if I have control of each of them.
I left the stroller at the base of the stairwell into the school and walked all the kids into their classrooms. Told them each that I loved them and would miss them. Told them I hoped they had a great day and then said goodbye. But by the time the first sentence was finished, they were all ready off into their preschool world and engulfed in whatever activity was already waiting for them. I'm pretty sure each morning I say goodbye to them once they are in the classroom, they have already forgotten I am even there. They love preschool!
I go back outside and now I am down to one child. I remove him from the Bjorn and strap him into the double jogging stroller. It would be easier to run him in the single jogging stroller, but that would mean that I'd have to take the kids to school in one of the multiple seat strollers we have, come home, get the single jogger out and then go for a run. I'm pretty sure I'd never make it out of the house a second time if I did that. So off we go in the double jogger with one child who seems a little uncomfortable, but doesn't complain too much.
The first part of my run is all up hill and then there is a lovely long gracious downhill. There are a few rolling hills after that and about the two mile mark I turn around to head home. Four miles with a big uphill right before I get home. Each terrain allowing different muscles in my legs and arms to be used, I can feel my stomach tighten and I can feel the burn. I love it. I don't love how much my back hurts when running. I flail my arms around in circles to stretch them out. I throw them side to side as I run; stretching my back. But it still hurts.
I love running. I have run since I was in middle school. I began running on the track team in seventh and eight grade. I ran track and field in high school as well, but it was really just to keep me in shape during the off season of cross country, as my passion was long distance running. Then I ran in college. And after college I began running local races, usually 5K's or 10K's. I have about 5 marathon's under my belt and a few halves. I have run in every city, state, town or country I have visited with the exception of Spain, since I was 7 months pregnant while there and I never run while pregnant.
When Paul and I found out we were pregnant for the first time we were so excited. At that time I had been running about 8 miles two or three times a week. My OB suggested that whatever I was doing before I got pregnant was what I should keep doing. So, in an effort to be the fittest pregnant momma ever I did. I was barely out of the first trimester when we lost our first baby. I will never know caused our miscarriage, but I never ran again during pregnancy.
I have run when I feel overwhelmed, hurt, angry, even tired. I have run when I've been excited, jubilated, and in celebration. One of Paul and I's first dates was out together for a run.
I know the back pain I feel during runs is not because I keep my shoulders too high nor is it because I tense up when I run. It's not because my foot placement is out of line or I'm straining certain muscles too much. It is the stresses of the days, the weeks, the months, the years. The stress of the hours and minutes of life that have kept my back tight and now are out for a run and are releasing all the toxins, all the tension. When I finally make it home huffing and puffing up the great big hill that was so gracious on the way down, I embrace the short down hill using it to cool down and then I take my sleeping infant out of the jogger and place him in his crib.
My back no longer hurts as a matter of fact it feels loose and all stretched. It's ready to absorb all the new stresses and anxieties a new day, a new week and month will bring.
Later, after I've fed a baby, folded a few loads of laundry, picked up toys, made beds and gotten dinner prepped to prepare later, I load the baby back up into the double jogging stroller and jog the short half a mile to Preschool to pick up my three "big" kids.
Their excitement and enthusiasm to see me is always overwhelming and keeps the weight lifted from my back for just a bit longer.