Three Years, Seven Strollers

2.10.10: A momma, her babies and four joggers

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I cannot imagine my life without our jogging stroller.

In some ways, it is hard to believe I came this far in my blog without ever addressing what jogger I use. Because without my jogger, I would be sunk. In the summer, we use it for runs to the playground and back, long training runs and jogs to daddy’s softball games. In the winter, we pile blankets on the kids and use it to run to school for pick up and drop off and maneuver over potholes and ice piles with ease. In the spring, we toss a rain cover over it and jog or walk anywhere we want. In short, I could not live without this piece of equipment.

When my daughter, now 3, was first born, I was anxious for the first six months to pass so that we could actually use a jogging stroller. It felt like an eternity. Since then, I have seen parents running with their car seats installed into the jogger much earlier than six months, but to be on the safe side, I would recommend waiting the full six months until one’s child has the neck strength to withstand the bumps and jostles that come with moving quickly over pavement.

Originally, I bought our Phil and Ted’s stroller as a jogger hybrid. We planned on having a second child, so I also liked the versatility and the back-to-back double design. Once Sam reached the six-month mark, I popped her in, locked the front wheel and attempted to run. I quickly realized the Phil and Ted’s is great aesthetically and for fitting through doors and even on a fast-paced race walk or strollerrobics class. But despite billing itself as a jogger, it is not. At least not the way I run. Casual jogging? Maybe. But not long, hard runs. It has neither the shocks nor the wheels to withstand such brutality. I’d say for anything more than 2 miles at a 10-minute pace, you should get an official, large/lock-wheeled jogger.

And so I did.

I bought my jogging stroller semi-used for $100, a baby jogger that retails for around $300. Aside from being a monstrosity (especially in a 1,000 square foot condo with no garage and a not-so-convenient closing mechanism), it was everything our Phil and Ted’s was not—sturdy, well suited to shocks and bumps and easy to push. Five miles with the baby jogger felt like I was running alone and unencumbered. Of course the fixed wheel makes it not ideal for everyday use and also not ideal for runs that have a lot of sharp turns, but for a long, straight run, it quickly became my best friend (and Sam’s, too).

When number two came along, I was in the market for a double jogger almost immediately and was pretty impressed by the BOB line of joggers. Although the Revolution is by far their most popular model (and those who use it swear by it), I decided to go for the Ironman double instead. Talk about a monstrosity. The thing barely fits through an average door, but as a jogger, this baby sings. People have written sonnets and love songs less passionate than the way I feel about our Ironman Duallie. It folds up as well as it can and each child is truly cruising in style with dual pockets for personal belongings/water and the best sun canopies I have ever seen with little openings on top for viewing the babies without exposing them to sun. My only design complaint is that the storage compartment at the bottom is very small, but given my children’s’ comfort and my ease of running, that complaint seems minor.

Of course after my yearlong love affair with the Ironman, a new baby has come into my life: the Chariot CX2 Bike Trailer/Double Jogger/Best Thing Ever. This family member arrived in late fall, so I have yet to take it from the box, but this spring, I promise a full review of it as both a jogger and a bike trailer. If my friends’ experiences with Chariots (and mine with pushing their children in them) are any indication, I may have found a new love. But until then, stay tuned.

If I run by you with my bright yellow Ironman, stop and say hi. Or ask me how I like it. After going through seven strollers in three years, I promise there is no one who knows more about them than I. Strollers=our tickets to freedom. So jog on mamas of the world and remember every pound of baby is another one you don’t have to lift in the free weight section at the gym.

Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.