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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, July 16, 2004

Addition means change of pace

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By Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer

As avid runners, Jonathan and Kelli Lyau are used to running together.

The Lyaus, from left, Kelli, Sierra and Jonathan, hit the road for a training run. Kelli and Jonathan have seen their running schedules change with the birth of Sierra 6 1/2 months ago.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

But as of late, they have been running solo or with a third partner.

The recent addition of 6 1/2-month-old Sierra, their first child, has given the couple a new running mate who rolls along with her father pushing her in the Baby Jogger, a stroller designed for outdoor activities.

"We like to go together. It's a family thing," said Jonathan, a 29-year runner who coaches two running clubs and works as a candy wholesale distributor and freelance writer. "It's fun pushing her. Every time you stop, you look at her and she's smiling or doing something."

While the family enjoys going as a trio, Sierra has also forced mom and dad to run solo as she has thrown their daily routines and running schedules into a whirlwind of change.

Flexibility a must

"We seem to be rushing around more, trying to get things done ... rushing around her schedule," Jonathan said. "We plan to do things but then it changes around her schedule."

Kelli, a 9-year runner, says her daily schedule is dependent on what time Sierra wakes up.

"You have to be a lot more flexible," she said.

Their running schedules are now coordinated around when Sierra eats and sleeps. Instead of running together like before, Jonathan goes first and Kelli watches the baby. Then Kelli runs while Jonathan bathes Sierra or fixes dinner.

Jonathan has reduced his previous weekly mileage of 70 to 80 miles by about 25 percent, and both parents have had a difficult time squeezing in a trip to the gym into their daily schedules. He also prefers Kelli not to run at night, so he has shortened his running routes and "adjusted my training accordingly."

"We're still having a hard time finding ways to get more into our normal workouts," Jonathan said. "Sometimes we run together but sometimes with the baby's schedule, I'll run first and then she'll run afterwards.

"My training is not up to what it used be. But at least we're doing stuff now and getting back into it together."

Gradual return

Getting back into running was a gradual process for Kelli after Sierra's birth on Dec. 27. Two weeks later, she was back in the gym and on the StairMaster. At four weeks, she was run-walking and by six weeks, she was running again. In March, Kelli completed her first road race since giving birth, finishing second in her age division in the Cinco de Mayo 5K.

"It was hard," Kelli said. "It's hard to get back into racing again."

Their race schedules also have been scaled back. The Lyaus, familiar faces at local road races, are now picking a race they really want to do well in and training for it.

Jonathan, the top kama'aina finisher at the Honolulu Marathon 10 times and a two-time Great Aloha Run winner, is aiming for the Maui Marathon in September. Kelli, who has won her age division in numerous races, achieved her goal of completing a half-marathon June 13.

 •  "We seem to be rushing around more, trying to get things done ... We plan to do things but then it changes around her (Sierra's) schedule."

— Jonathan lyau | Veteran runner, new father.
A high school track team and stroller have allowed the two to get their running done. While coaching the girls distance runners on the Kamehameha Schools track team this past spring, the Lyaus got in a lot of training by running with the team while Sierra became the mascot for the girls' team.

Sierra has also logged her own mileage, tallying some 150 miles already. She "ran" a 10-miler with her parents, completed a run with eight other adults and won the baby stroller division at the Mango Days 5K Run on June 6 when a family friend was the first to push her across the finish line.

"It's good to have her with you than having somebody watching her or leaving her at home," Jonathan said.

Another adjustment is the Baby Jogger, which changed some of his normal running routes. He now runs on routes that are safer and steadier for the stroller. Jonathan and Kelli have also started a Baby Jogger journal for Sierra, similar to the one Jonathan uses to document his own runs.

"Hopefully when she gets older, she will remember it was something we did together," Jonathan said.

Support helps

The Lyaus are also grateful for the all the support they have received. Jonathan's mother watched Sierra while the two were coaching at Kamehameha and every Tuesday, she babysits while Jonathan coaches one of his running groups, Personal Best Training, with Kelli running along.

That support will be vital during what Jonathan calls the "real test" in a few months when Kelli returns to her job as middle school math teacher and math team coach at Kamehameha. Both of their mothers will be watching Sierra twice a week then.

So far, both parents have enjoyed parenthood despite all the changes to their daily routines. Both feel the changes have been for the better.

"We feel that there's always time for things (other) than running," Jonathan said. "You've just got to budget time and be more efficient in doing things."

Said Kelli: "Before, I was the type who always had to run and now it's like if something comes up, it's not a big deal. I don't get all worked up if I don't get in a run. She's more important than a run."

Reach Stanley Lee at slee@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8533.