Break The Routine!
One word that is sometimes synomous with family is routine. Between work, school, and sports, getting outside as a family and having fun together is often forgotten. As parents, we sometimes tend to focus on doing the big, such as a beach vacation, cruise, camping, or another type of adventure. So while you do break your "routine" for that week, you normally go right back to it when you return home.
The great news is this does not need to be the case. There are plenty of activities currently in your city that only require a morning or afternoon commitment. Two such activities that I am very fond of are mud runs and obstacle course races. These type of events have exploded in popularity over the last 3 years with runners of all ages.
A Rainbow of Bubbles
These races are great for families as they are geared toward getting people active, working as a team, and most importantly having fun. One recent race I did with my family was Bubble Palooza: a 5K bubble-machined themed race that my kids and wife LOVED!
A lot of families, with kids of all ages, participate in this race, which means a lot of walkers, parents with strollers, and kids stopping to pick up rocks. But that is what makes this event great for families!
If you are looking for a good starter race for yourself, spouse, kids, or friend, then Bubble Palooza is the race for you. If you are looking for a more daunting, authentic 5K in which you are trying to set a personal record or achieve a great time, then you should probably stay away. A lot of families, with kids of all ages, participate in this race, which means a lot of walkers, parents with strollers, and kids stopping to pick up rocks. But that is what makes this event great for families!
Both of my children (Ages 6 and 3) had never been to race and were a little apprehensive. My eldest (son) thought he needed to come in first or he would be laughed at. So after talking him down the night before, Bubble Palooza did the rest.
You enter into the venue with music, activities, and of course...bubbles! Lots and lots of bubbles. All different colors, shapes, and sizes. The Bubble machines are scattered across the course and everyone would slowly walk in order to wade through them (again, if you are a serious runner, you should stay away from Bubble Palooza). While the course layout was a little confusing at times, it did allow our family to cut across a few areas and shorten our run. Since I was mostly carrying my 3 year old, my back and shoulders thanked me later that night.
The things my kids loved the most, of course, were the bubbles. They also loved the costumes, the music, and getting to dump water over their heads when they arrived at a hydration station (the little things that I take for granted as a runner). At the end of the race, Bubble Palooza had set up 5 bubble machines, in a large field, along with music and dancing. We spent the next hour, hanging out, laughing and getting covered in bubbles.
It was a great morning and great way to spend time together. We left our house at 9AM, raced at 10AM, and were home by 1PM.
So if you and your family are new to this type of running here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- You will get dirty/stained/wet so bring older clothes or clothes that you do not mind getting ruined.
- Bring towels for after the race. You will need something to dry/clean up with.
- Bring a change of clothes. You will be happy to be in dry clothes.
- Sunscreen! You will be outside for 3 to 4 hours. Protect your skin.
- Flip flops if you plan on hanging around afterwards. Wet shoes lead to blisters, so Crocs, flip flops, sandals, or anything that will let your feet dry out are fine.
Get a Little Crazy
I didn't set any records or achieve a personal best, but I did get to spend quality time with my kids and wife. And that made this race great in my eyes. So don't wait! Go online today and look for a mud run or obstacle course race near you! Shake up that routine and get a little crazy. Your family will thank you for it!