I used to think burpees were the most difficult exercise on the planet. I was wrong. Nothing has ever made me feel so out of shape as running up a hill while pushing my 33lb toddler in a stroller.
I didn’t start running until Betty was a year old so back when it was time to choose a stroller a jogger wasn’t on the radar. I thought they were cool, but my lifestyle didn’t call for all that. We were gifted a very nice stroller at our baby shower and it served us well for her first year.
As running slowly took over my life though, I started to wish that we had gone with a jogger instead. I marveled at my runner friends who ran 5Ks with their kids in a stroller…Sue ran 8 FREAKING MILES with her son in a stroller. WHAT!? I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it. I kind of wanted to try it. I would soon get my chance.
The generous folks over at Graco must have some serious mind-reading skills because they contacted me asking if I would like to try out a stroller from a new line that they have geared specifically toward active moms: the Relay™ Click Connect™ Performance Jogging Stroller.
Um yes. Yes I would.
Betty’s infant car seat was a Graco as is the convertible seat in Mr. Salt’s car now. We also used a Snap and Go stroller with her infant seat, so we are no strangers to the brand. I trust Graco products and was already anticipating that this would be a stellar experience. Shortly thereafter, the most wonderful package arrived.
The color is called PANTHER. (Picture me whispering it for dramatic effect.) This stroller is also available in 3 additional colors as well and all of them have fast jungle cat names: Green (Lynx), Blue (Jaguar), and Red (Cougar). My husband would probably tell me that I was better suited for a red one.
Whatever, Mr. Salt. You’re only a year and a half younger than me.
I liked the Relay immediately. Right out of the box it required some simple assembly that only took me 2 minutes and I’m generally terrible at following instructions. It once took me almost 3 hours to put together a small dresser from Ikea.
One of the great things about this stroller is that if you are using it with a slightly older child you don’t have to buy any add-ons. It comes with everything you need including the UV50 protection canopy, a roomy and easily accessible storage area underneath, the parent console that features a cup holder and all sorts of pockets for your keys, phone, and other essentials, and a removable armrest bar with a cup holder for the kiddo, which is something that my other stroller is lacking and I always wished it had.
If you plan to use it for a wee baby it is compatible with any Graco Click Connect infant seat. Those are sold separately, but I think it would make one heck of a travel system! Unlike so many other strollers out there, no adapters are required.
Some Additional Specs:
The Relay™ Click Connect™ Performance Jogging Stroller has:
- A locking front-swivel wheel with tracking. Naturally you can lock the back wheels too.
- Air-filled, pneumatic tires. Pneumatic is an adjective meaning containing or operated by air under pressure. Sort of like my head. I had no idea what pneumatic meant until I Googled.
- Breathable, comfortable fabric, and a nicely cushioned seat that features reflective piping for added visibility in low light. Maybe running her around the neighborhood in the evening will help her to fall asleep? I am willing to try ANYTHING at this point.
- A total weight capacity of 70lbs. That includes your kid and all your stuff and if you are jogging pushing a 28 pound stroller plus 70 additional pounds? Beastmode. Hats off to you.
- An adjustable, multi-position reclining seat with a convertible three- and five-point harness.
- A safety tether that attaches to your wrist for added peace of mind.
And perhaps my two FAVORITE things about it:
- A premium suspension system on a lightweight frame that offers a smooth ride on any terrain. Like this thing could seriously go off-roading. I’m thinking we’ll be taking it to the Ren Fest with us this year.
- One-second, one-hand fold function. I was skeptical about this because our other stroller advertised the same thing, but then you have to snap a bunch of other stuff in place. Graco isn’t kidding. There is a pull strap located underneath the seat and folding and unfolding the Relay is as easy as pulling up on it. No additional things to snap or secure.
Despite the fact that it looked somewhat enormous when I put it together in my living room, it is remarkably compact when folded. I doubt it will fit in the Fiat because the Fiat is not much bigger than a stroller, but it will definitely fit nicely into our Mazda 3.
I couldn’t wait to take it out for a run. I contemplated doing it on Saturday even after running 12 solo miles in the morning, but then it poured down rain for the rest of the day. However, Sunday was sunny and gorgeous – and more than a little warm – and what better time to take my sweet girl on her inaugural stroller run than Mother’s Day? We had a little bit of time to kill between the baseball game and dinner so I decided to take her to the playground.
Betty is big for 2. She’s nearly 3 feet tall and as you can see she still has room to grow into the Relay. Her favorite feature is the fact that she can put fruit snacks in the cup holder.
The playground is a little more than a mile and a half from our house. Usually we drive there. Having never been running with me before, she was hilariously confused as to what was happening and kept asking “Mommy? Where are we going?” over and over (and over) again. I was hilariously sweating like a pig and hyperventilating as I tried to explain that we were going to the playground. Talking was hard. I should mention that the first 3/4 of a mile of our trek is entirely uphill.
Once that was behind us though, we had some smooth sailing. The logistics of running with a stroller will definitely take some getting used to on my part, but although I have nothing else to compare it to I think the Relay handled impeccably. I can’t imagine anything I’d change about it. It was comfortable to push, very responsive, handled well in corners, a smooth ride for B, and just as the PANTHER namesake would suggest, it is definitely fast. As we approached the playground there is a nice little downhill where I picked up some serious speed. Thank goodness for that wrist tether.
As difficult as it was, I felt pretty badass. Later on in the evening we went out for fro yo and the guy at the counter who knows us – because we are a family of fro yo addicts – told me that he had seen us out running earlier. I asked him if I looked like I was about to die and he said no, so not only am I badass, but I’m also a very good actress.
I wore my Garmin and considering that I was a first-timer, NOT TOO SHABBY!
And the next day? SO SORE. The wet noodle feeling in my arms didn’t totally go away until yesterday…just in time to do a billion chaturangas at yoga class!. Running with a stroller is like running and strength training all at the same time. I’m looking forward to doing more of it because I suspect that it’s only going to make me a stronger runner when I go out solo.
You moms and dads that do this regularly though? HIGH FIVES for being amazing!
Have you ever run with a stroller? If so do you think it has made you a better solo runner? Do you have any tips to share? Do you love the Renaissance Festival as much as I do?