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The Goddess Speaks

By Stacy Yuen Hernandez

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Baby Jogger
blues on the run

THE Baby Jogger sits in the corner of the room staring quietly at me as if to say, "OK, I'm ready. When will you be?" I gave birth to my first child seven weeks ago and prior to the day she was born I was bursting with excitement about the prospect of losing the 51pounds I had gained and returning to the local running scene stronger and faster than ever.

I fantasized about trotting up to the stage with brick-like abs and a tanned slender body to accept my age-group award with my baby in my arms. People would say, "Wow! She's fast! She had a baby too! I wonder how she finds the time to train?" I'd smile and say, "Oh, it's nothing. You just need to know how to budget your time."

But that hasn't happened ... yet.

The brand new state-of-the-art Baby Jogger II with blue-green fabric was a gift from my running friends, an assurance that I would get back into shape once the baby was born and not turn into a couch potato. When I received it, I excitedly assembled it and placed Max, our cat, into the seat, strapped him in and took him for a ride down the hallway. I couldn't wait to use it!

Now seven weeks have passed and I am exhausted from a fussy baby during the day, numerous diaper changes, midnight feedings and endless piles of laundry. Where am I going to find the time to run? The Baby Jogger is the last thing on my mind.

Seeing that we were both heading toward couch potato-ville, my husband and I made a deal. He would go paddling with his outrigger canoe club on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I could go running on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It seemed like I got the better end of the bargain since I got one more day out of it than he did. He started working out immediately and lost his sympathy pounds. I haven't started yet.

I still have 21 pounds to lose to get back to my 97-pound running body. People tell me I will never be the same again. Some say my bone structure will change and I will no longer be the petite, lithe runner I used to be. No longer will my hips and butt be able to fit my size small InSport running shorts. Maybe now I'll even have to wear a king-sized jog bra. Others say that having a baby is the best thing for a runner. I will be stronger and shatter my 5K record now that I have been through childbirth and know what real pain is. Running in pain was always something I had a hard time with.

My heroes are Joan Benoit and Mary Decker Slaney, two women who made great comebacks after childbirth. I'm sure they had no problem running in pain to begin with. I'm positive they had no trouble lacing up their Nikes and trotting out the door post-partum. By delaying my efforts to run again, I feel like I'm wimping out.

My friends keep asking, "Have you used the Baby Jogger yet?" I feel guilty saying, "No, I'm just sooo tired!" There were days when I was without child and felt the same lack of motivation to pound the pavement. I'd force myself to get out there and do it anyway. I'd always feel better afterward. What makes my situation different now?

I need even more motivation now that I am a mother. The answer came to me in an unexpected way. The extra motivation is staring me right in the face, with that big gummy grin.

I dream of the day that my daughter, Raquel, and I will be able to run a race together. Of course, she may not enjoy running as much as I do. She may even despise it. But you never know until you try. Perhaps today's the day to plop little Raquel into the blue-green Baby Jogger seat and introduce her to the joys of running.

Stacy Yuen Hernandez is a mother, runner
and writer living in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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