Here also are a couple of ideas that we haven't seen before that you might try to recreate....
Halloween is just a few weeks away! Have you starting thinking of a stroller costume idea to attend your chapter's Stroller Treating or Trunk or Treat events or maybe even your local 5K or 10K?! The Warriors at Stroller Warriors® Quantico have continually knocked this task out of the park so we are highlighting a handful of their creative stroller costumes on the blog today.
Let the scrolling begin!
Now that you have seen THEIR ideas... what stroller costume ideas do YOU have in mind this year? Share with us in the comments below!
Here also are a couple of ideas that we haven't seen before that you might try to recreate....
Happy Stroller Treating and/or Trunk or Treating with your fellow Stroller Warriors!
There comes a time in every Stroller Warrior’s life when her/his children are ready to start logging some miles of their own. We’re here to make that transition for you a little bit easier. I have compiled advice from numerous Stroller Warriors who have been there, done that and have come through the other end triumphant. Without further ado, here are some awesome tips and tricks!
Don’t immediately ditch the stroller!There will be a transition period while your mini warrior builds up his or her stamina and you’re going to want a backup plan during that period. Bring the single or the double stroller along, even if your mini has also brought their bike or scooter. There were MANY times where my son lost steam (sometimes only 5 minutes into our run!) and there was no moving him. I am so happy I still had the stroller and could let him climb in with his sister. I’d put his bike on top of the stroller and continue on my way.
Don’t feel like your child needs to go from stroller to bike, there are many other options. Many have found the scooter to be a wonderful transition between stroller rider and biker. With the scooter, your mini won’t be able to go as fast, and therefore it will be even easier for you to keep them in site. The scooter also gives them the chance to build their muscles and their stamina without the height of a fall off a bike. Strider bikes are another great alternative. Keep reading to learn more about strider bikes.
Bring Band-Aids. You never know when there might be an accident, so keep band aids on hand just in case. For many children Band-Aids are a magic fix it all and can improve their mood and keep them going. Who doesn’t like having a magic wand around?!
Strider bikes work! Strider bikes look like regular bikes but they don’t have pedals. They’re also usually lower to the ground. I can tell you from experience, strider bikes work to teach your kids how to ride a bike, STRESS FREE! I remember learning to ride a bike as a kid. After my parents took off my training wheels I fell off into the bushes and onto the ground more times than I can count. It actually made me afraid of biking. I remember my Dad having to run alongside me to make sure I didn’t fall or try to catch me if I did. Thankfully those are not my parenting memories of teaching my kids to ride a bike! We used strider bikes for all 4 of our kids. They learned to balance first and learned to pedal second. Once they got the hang of balancing on their strider bike, it was literally a day or two later that they were able to jump onto their regular bike and head off –without falling! My kids can keep up with me on their strider bikes, and I feel so much safer with them on their striders than on regular bikes while at a Stroller Warriors workout. All they have to do to stop is put their legs down. If you want a stress-free learning to bike experience, get a new or use strider bike.
Go to the track!If your local track allows bikes and scooters, that’s a great place to get them started and build their confidence right along with their muscles. They can gain a little bit independence from you and you both can stop whenever you’re tired. No trek back home required.
Build up a trusting relationship with strong boundaries. They’re new to this, and likely very excited! However, sometimes there are roads to cross and other runners and strollers to be aware of. Take the time to teach them the rules of the road/trail. Teach them to say, “On your left” if they will be passing someone, and to move to right if someone says, “On your left.” Teach them all of your rules and boundaries. How close to you do they need to be? Do they need to stay with a certain person/friend? Can they cross streets without you or do they need to stop and wait? Can they turn around and bike back towards you? or do you want them to pause where they are wand wait for you to catch up?Setting up your expectations ahead of time, will make your day go a whole lot smoother.
Use your tribe!Many warriors have talked about how they sometimes have a fast mini warrior and a slower mini warrior, all at the same time. What are you to do when you can’t be in two places at once? Use your tribe! Talk with your fellow warriors and plan out who will be with the fast kids and who will be with the slower kids. Switch it up so one person doesn’t get stuck always in the back or always in the front. In the past I have asked our lead runner if it would it be okay for my child/children to bike with her? When she has said, yes. I’ve made sure to have a talk with her and my kids to go over my rules with them. For example I usually say, “You can’t go past Mrs. Lindsay, and you need to turn around when she turns around. You also need to listen to her, just as you would listen to me.” I also check in with her after the run to thank her and make sure they listened well and she didn’t run into any problems having them with her.
Remember two key words, patience and practice! When you first start out, you will likely be waiting on them. There will be falls, and scratches and all kinds of delays. Keep practicing. Practice a lot. Practice prior to Stroller Warrior workouts so they can get the hang of riding their bike or scooter before being with a crowd on a bike or a scooter. You can break it down into multiple small segments from the house, 3 minutes out and 3 minutes back and build from there. You can practice multiple times a day. Take small steps to help build their confidence and their muscles. Before you know it, they will be zooming past you on their own.
Watch out for sleepy kids! Keep an eye on your child’s level of exhaustion. If they’re too tired have them ride in the stroller or abort for the day. Katie has experienced this first hand. She didn’t realize how tired her son was until he fell asleep at an evening workout and rode his bike right into the seawall. She says, “I felt terrible and didn’t look like the mother of the year.” We all know accidents happen. No judgement here! Take this as a learning lesson for us all, and maybe take a minute to ask your child if they are feeling tired before heading out.
Which reminds me, don’t forget the helmets! Safety comes first! You never know when an accident is going to happen. Traumatic Brain Injuries are a very real and scary thing. Helmets were invented for a reason. Keep an extra in your car if you need to, to help you remember to have one on hand for your mini warrior.
Remember snacks and water. I can pretty much guarantee if you have a biker or a mini warrior on a scooter, they are going to get thirsty. They may want to stop 3-4 times to “have a rest” and take a drink. Make sure you have enough for you and them, so that no one is left wanting. Their muscles can benefit just as much as yours from a post-run snack. Research shows that eating something small within 30 minutes after a workout helps your muscles to quickly repair and rebuild faster than if you don’t eat anything.
If your biker is having trouble keeping up, check out the tire size of their bike. My son was having trouble keeping up with us. He was getting frustrated and not having fun. We upgraded his bike to the next tire size and literally the next day he could keep up! With the bigger tires he was able to use the same amount of effort to go further and faster.
We’re so happy we could help you along in your transition in this small way, by sharing our best tips and tricks. If you have more tips and tricks we haven’t talked about above please post below and share with your fellow Stroller Warriors!
Kelly and the SWHQ Team
We’re here with you today to share our best tips and tricks to help you have successful runs with your toddler!
Most children love the stroller, or learn to love it. So don’t be discouraged if they cry on your first time out. Don’t feel like you have to go full steam right away either. You can start with smaller increments of time, like 10 minutes and build up by 5 or 10 minutes each day until you’re at your desired time for a run.
Make sure your toddler is dressed appropriately for the weather and has adequate blankets (if needed). If they are too hot or too cold, they will likely make sure you and everyone in a 10-mile radius is well aware!
Make sure to buckle your child in safely. You never know when a car will jump the sidewalk or when an accident is going to happen. If you and your child get into the habit of practicing safety first, it will be second nature (and won’t cause fights) later in life.
Bring snacks and a drink along for the ride. Having food and drink along will help the run go so much smoother. Some moms have found success in keeping special snacks JUST for stroller runs to help their children associate stroller runs as something positive and special.
If your child likes to throw things, consider investing in something that makes the sippy cup or snack attached to the stroller. That way you won’t have to stop and start a million times. Still stay alert though, you never know what they’re going to throw out! One time I went on a run and when I got back I noticed my little was missing a shoe! I had zoned out on the run while they napped and could not tell you when or where the shoe was lost. Thinking it must have been recently I backtracked looking for it. I did find it, exactly at my turn around point and ended up doing DOUBLE the miles I was intending to.
Engage with them as you run! It’s fun for them to talk with you and look out for the things you’re looking at. This will also help them to learn words and will broaden their vocabulary. I always asked my toddlers to repeat back to me words to help them learn and to see how they are able to say it. Some things are just too adorable to not hear and capture. For example, my third child calls a lunch box a, "rumpus." Had I not had her repeat it back to me as we were running to the park, I never would have known what she was talking about!
Consider playing music for them during the run. They may have favorite songs that help to calm them or they might be lulled by the music and take a good nap.
If possible stop and start at a playground. This will give them some time to be active too and they’ll begin to associate stroller runs with FUN for them too!
Invite another Mom along for the fun! Not only will you get company, but so will your child. The monkey see, monkey do effect will start to come into play. You don’t know how many times I’ve seen first time Warriors shocked that their kids did so well in the stroller on their first day. I think part of it is that with other people around there is a lot going on to see. The other part is peer pressure. The other kids are doing it and not complaining, so they don’t complain either. Sometimes peer pressure can work in wonderful ways! Like with happy stroller runs and potty training. But I digress.
Don’t forget diapers and wipes. You never know when they might have a major blow out and it’s best to be prepared, just in case!
If your toddler is into baby wearing, bring along a baby carrier. As your child gets heavier it’s even harder to hold them while steering a stroller. If you do end up needing to walk with them you can strap them into the baby carrier and push the stroller with two hands.
If they have successfully ridden in the stroller for awhile, reward them with a bit of run time of their own! They want nothing more than to be like you - so when the playground is in sight, unbuckle them and have them "race" you to the park!
My best advice for those of you getting out there with toddlers is to be persistent. Keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t let one bad day or one bad week dictate what the rest of your life will look like. When you are patient and persistent, eventually they will learn. You can have the best of both worlds, fun for them and a workout for you! Best of luck!
What tips and tricks have you used when running with your toddler(s)?
I want to start off this blog by giving you a little bit of background on me, the writer. I am a mother of 4, and have been stroller running for 10 years. I am not a paid blogger. None of the companies I talk about below have asked me to write about them.
Now the good stuff: what you need and how to get yourself up to stroller running with your baby.
First of all, you need a jogging stroller. Let me say that in my experience with jogging strollers, you get what you pay for. This is one area in life where it is better to pay a little more and get a high quality stroller that can last. My personal favorite is the BOB Revolution (I own two! Their single and their double). There are other brands that my friend’s have and that seem to perform well. Feel free to ask on your local Stroller Warrior® page for recommendations. I have known people who started out without a jogging stroller. I even know two that started with a tandem double and one that started with a tandem triple! While it is possible, it’s less safe and is a lot harder on you and your body.
When you decide to run with your infant is up to you and your doctor. Talk with your doctor and your spouse and make the decision that is the best for you and your family. If you would like to read more about my personal experiences on returning to running post partum this blog will tell you more.
Always make sure to buckle your child in safely. Make sure to run holding the safety strap securely and don't forget to put on your brake when you stop. Nobody wants a runaway stroller! It's also a good idea to get in the habit of looking over the stroller to make sure the wheels are on correctly, properly secured and are inflated before you start your run. The stroller you purchase should have a website or manual that can detail how to correctly do these things.
Whenever you and baby start running together you need to keep in mind that both you and baby are new to this! Your baby is still learning while missing your womb and your warmth. Your body recently went through a major weight change, a major blood volume change, a traumatic event and possibly a major surgery. Give yourself grace. Give your baby grace. I am a big fan of building up postpartum with a walk-run interval program. The free app by Zen Labs called C25k is one that I personally have used to build back up after having a baby. As an added bonus this program is only 30 minutes long 3 times a week, so hopefully baby is more likely to last for 30 minutes than say for an hour. It is also easier to escape baby for half an hour while you run on your own if that’s the route you choose to go.
While you’re jogging stroller shopping I highly recommend looking for one that has an infant car seat attachment that you can click your baby’s carseat into. This will enable the easy transfer of a warm baby from the car to the stroller for an easy run or from the stroller to the car for an easy trip home. There have even been times when I have been able to run in my neighborhood, unclip the sleeping baby from the stroller and bring my baby into the bathroom so I can keep an eye on baby while I shower.
If you have to take your baby out of the carseat to put them into the stroller, chances are they are going to get grumpy and it will be harder (but not impossible) to get them down again. If your baby is awake or wakes up before you run I would nurse/feed the baby, burp them really well, make sure they have a clean diaper and are comfortable temperature-wise (what they wear will obviously depend on the climate you are in). Most places you’ll want your baby to have some kind of hat as all humans lose 40% of their heat through their head. Trapping that warmth may be especially important for baby (depending on climate and season) as they won’t be running and having their blood circulating like you are. When you are running your body temperature increases the ‘real feel’ by 20 degrees. Only you are experiencing this real feel temp increase so when you are running you can no longer gage their warmth by your own.
None of my 4 children would take pacifiers, but you bet I was trying to get them to take one while I was out on a run. Getting 30 minutes of peace in a day can make a world of a difference in your mental health and stress level. If your baby will take one, getting in some personal exercise can boost your mood (yay endorphins!) and give you more energy for your day. It’s funny how that works sometimes, isn’t it?
When running with an infant I always pack a baby carrier. Which baby carrier I have in the stroller has always depended on their age and which carrier they like best. For 0-6 months I baby wear using a sashawrap which is similar to a moby wrap but made by a military spouse (and able to be personalized). 6 months up to toddlerhood I use an Ergo or a backpack style carrier that can go on the front or the back. There is a high chance, especially when you both are new to this, that baby might get upset and you might need to cuddle them while you walk. This may be frustrating especially when your friends around you are able to continue to run. Remember that a half attempt is better than no attempt at all. Using a baby carrier instead of carrying them in your arms will not only make it easier to push the stroller. It also will save your arms, back and posture. You can still get a great workout walking, especially if you have a baby carrier on. Walk fast and get your heart rate up, or pause and sooth your baby. Tomorrow is another day, you can always try again.
If you want, before you give in and walk, here are a few different things you can try. These are listed in random order. You can do whichever you want first. Every baby is different and you know your baby best.
1. Check the baby’s diaper. They may want a new one.
2. Feed the baby. Know that all of the research says that babies are the healthiest eaters out there. They will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. 3. Burp the baby. Gas pains are no fun!
4. Give the baby a pacifier.
5. Play music. Is there a special song you listened to or sang while you were pregnant? Don’t be afraid to whip it out and use it. It could make a world of a difference in your baby’s mood. Nobody will judge you while you run along singing the ABCs or for my second son it was Twinkle, Twinkle. If anything it just makes you look like a good Mom. I have a friend that had a Hawaiian song playing on repeat every time we ran together. I didn’t mind at all because it made her son happy and enabled us to run together.
If baby still isn’t happy take them out, put them in a carrier and walk with them. Did you know that the research on calories burned is pretty similar in running VS walking provided that the MILES covered is the same. What I am saying is that for example if you run 3 miles or walk 3 miles your caloric expenditure will be remarkably similar. The big difference is the time. For example on average it would have taken you 30 minutes to run 3 miles and it would have taken you 60 minutes to walk it. Walking is good exercise and exercise does your body and mind wonders. So don’t be too upset if your run is abruptly halted by a crying baby. You can still get a good workout in and get some of those endorphins and much needed vitamin D for you and baby.
Do you have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow Stroller Warriors? Please post below and tell us!
By Brianna H.
In 2015, I was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas where a new Stroller Warriors® chapter was starting up. This was my first exposure to Stroller Warriors and I was super excited about it. I loved getting together with others to run around the beautiful rolling Kansas hills. The downside for me, was that the chapter started just a few months before we had to leave Kansas. I was going to have to leave the Stroller Warrior life I had begun to know and love. I was, as some would say, "beginning to drink the Kool-Aid!" I loved Stroller Warriors so much, I knew that I wanted to be in Stroller Warriors wherever we went.
We PCSd to Virginia for school where there was no chapter, and I was so bummed. I was going to have to survive the next 6 months all on my own. Toward the end of our short 6 months at Career Course, we found out we would be coming to Fort Hood. I was thrilled. 'The Great Place' is HUGE! Surely there was a Stroller Warriors chapter. I looked online immediately and when I didn't see it I was sure there was a mistake. Then I thought back to Kansas, and the first Stroller Warriors Coordinator I knew, Christie L. She built a chapter in Kansas because she wanted there to be one. I felt empowered. If she could do it, so could I! I was pregnant with my second child so that delayed things a little bit, but as soon as I could, in September 2017, I submitted the application to initiate a Stroller Warriors chapter at Fort Hood. It was fun and exciting to go through the process from beginning to end. There is a lot more behind the scenes work than one would imagine. I had made a few mom friends by then, and I started spreading the word.
Our chapter launched 19 May 2018, on an absolutely beautiful (almost)-spring day in Texas. 14 people came to the Inaugural Workout, and I was thrilled! I had done it! I had worked hard and brought Stroller Warriors to our community at Fort Hood, Texas. Everyone had a blast at the workout. I had managed everything with my 3 month-old in tow, the moms and the kids had all had fun. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I was then, and I still am, thrilled about the possibilities that are in store for Stroller Warriors Fort Hood!
Since our first workout SW Fort Hood has initiated and added additional resources like No Run Day Fun Days (NRFDs) and Warrior Nights Out. We’ve done splash pad, bowling, vision board making, and more to bond and unite our team. We've done outreach in our community through the Fort Hood Baby Expo and have gained a lot of new members through that opportunity. We were invited back again for 2019 as well! We have positively impacted our local community through a plogging event in the early fall along one of the trails on post and later towards winter we collected 75lbs of food for the Fort Hood Food Pantry.
We hosted the chapter’s first night run and raffled off goodies from Ragnar. We have had a cookie bake-off where two members took home holiday surprises for the most-liked cookie. We have participated in SW Runopoly as a chapter and already have two members who have hit the first Runopoly milestone this year! We have more who are working hard and are on their way to meeting that first milestone! We are currently working on our first gear order, we have had 3 members complete C25K, we participated in the on-post yard sale to fundraise, and we are looking forward to volunteering with the USO here on post.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Brianna!
We have no doubt that Stroller Warriors Fort Hood will continue to grow and have a positive influence on not only it's members but the surrounding community as well!
Keep up the great work!
If you are a Chapter Founder and would like your story featured please email me at email@example.com! If you’re interested in founding a chapter and bringing
Stroller Warriors to your location, please follow these instructions.
This week we bring to you a guest blog with a novel idea for a FUN workout and heartfelt message from one of our long time members and Coordinators at Stroller Warriors® Camp Pendleton, Nikki T! Without further ado, I will let Nikki take it away!
SW Camp Pendleton hosted our 1st Annual Trash the Dress run on May 21. When the idea came to me a month ago, my fellow coordinators and I jumped on making this happen. We picked a date, and the execution was even better than I imagined! In the end, it was so much more than a themed run. It was a celebration!
Some ladies grabbed a dress for less than $5 from a local thrift store. Others (like me) had a dress they didn’t mind messing up if things got crazy during the run. The “trashing” was minimal: being the run leader today, and the brains behind this particular theme, I found some handy mud and smeared it all over myself. Some other warriors used scissors to slice and dice their dresses ahead of time. When it comes to Trash the Dress, anything goes! I’m looking forward to seeing how this evolves over the years for SWCP.
Due to the risk of chafing (sequins, you guys! sequins rub!) we reduced our run time from 40 min to 30 min. One of our longtime and very pregnant members stationed herself about halfway through the route to take pictures. Those did not disappoint!
Before we set out, I covered our typical club announcements, but then segued into a little pre-run speech: today was my last run lead as a co-coordinator and 5-year member of SWCP. My very first run was at this same location, and the pep talk SWCP’s founder, Mia M., gave that day has stuck with me. She spoke about talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend. My self-talk had always been severely awful, and this was a true line-in-the-sand turning point for me. Mia encouraged us, heading out on that run, to pick something positive we could tell ourselves in our heads, and I’ve embraced that practice ever since that morning.
If I leave anything behind here at Camp Pendleton, as we head off to civilian land and retirement, I want it to be what she taught me: Anything is possible if you talk to yourself kindly about it. My mantra right now is “I am strong, I am capable, I am prepared.” I am carrying this in my self-talk across the country to our new life in New Jersey. I hope all of our members will practice doing the same. By having this "Trash the Dress" run as my last lead, I leave behind this spirit: talk “pretty” to yourself, be fun with yourself, and have a little grace with yourself when things get messy.
To all my “teammates” past and present, thank you for encouraging my running growth and celebrating my many comebacks.
I am strong. I am capable. I am prepared. I am a warrior.
peace and love,
By Yvonne Z.
I heard about the Stroller Warriors® Running Club at Ramstein, Germany, where I am originally from. My husband and I attended a 5K fun run which was organized by an organization called the “KMC 5K Runners”. The Stroller Warriors Ramstein, Germany had a table there with some info about them and I instantly liked what I saw! This was in 2017.
Stroller running was brand new to me, since I had just had my daughter and I thought joining the Stroller Warriors sounds promising. I joined the group and my good friend and I attended a few workouts in the local area. I felt right at “home” going to the workouts. Shortly after I had discovered Stroller Warriors Ramstein, we received orders to Keesler, Mississippi, which was my very first PCS and the first time moving away from home. The Stroller Warriors community was super helpful, giving me lots of tips and advise that they have gained with their past moves. I was sad that I had found them so close to our PCS, but was looking forward to our new adventure.
Once at Keesler I drove around the base to explore our new home while my husband had his first day at work. We were still living in the Temporary Lodging Facility (TLF) and my daughter and I were out and about. One of the first things I noticed was the beautiful running track that bends around the flight line adjacent to the Biloxi Back Bay. Coming from Germany I always wanted to live close to water and was in awe of how beautiful the scenery was. “With such a nice running track, there must be a SW chapter on base” was the first thought that crossed my mind.
Back in TLF I took my laptop and started searching for a SW chapter but couldn’t find one. I emailed Headquarters (HQ) to verify. HQ answered quickly saying that there was not a chapter yet and asked me If I would be interested in starting one… I filled out the questionnaire to launch a chapter right then and there, two days after arriving at Keesler.
Of course I had doubts if I would be able to “pull it off” since my time with Stroller Warriors in Germany had been so short and I didn’t have time to really get to know the club, BUT with full support from my husband and my fantastic Regional Mentor, Kim B., I was able to build up the chapter.
On March 22nd, 2018 we officially launched our Keesler chapter with a fantastic inaugural workout. We had a great turnout, the weather was perfect and everybody had a great time. I remember that after the workout I was so pumped. I didn’t remember what I had said in my speech or anything, but I felt happy and confident that this was going to be an amazing adventure.
I was incredibly lucky to have had quite a few Warriors in the group from the day our Facebook group launched, who posted their running stories, photos and motivated others to do so as well. I am so thankful for them. They will always be a big part of building up the chapter.
Just a few weeks ago we celebrated our ONE year Runniversary with a birthday party themed workout and also kicked off our second round of Couch to 5K (C25K)!! It was a very special day for me and made me reflect on the past year and all the accomplishments and friendships I was able to make with the chapter.
The only way to describe this past year is that is was phenomenal! We had an incredible kick
off, motivated Warriors from the get go, we dedicated several workouts to charity organizations,
held donation drives for Fisher House and Toys for Tots, we also had so much fun putting our
first Mini Warrior program together and had a very successful first round of C25K in the Fall of 2018.
Most importantly, we built each other up, made friendships that will last a lifetime and celebrated personal goals, no matter how big or small. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds for us as a chapter. We are growing and are well- known throughout the base and surrounding military installations. So far I have received nothing but positive feedback, which makes me very proud.
We are currently working on our chapter specific logo and I can’t wait to proudly wear our own
Keesler specific Stroller Warrior gear soon.
WE are Stroller Warriors Keesler - Running the Gulf Coast!
Thank you so much for sharing your story Yvonne!
We have no doubt that with your guidance Stroller Warriors Keesler will continue to grow and create many lasting memories!
If you’re a Chapter Founder and would like your story featured please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you’re interested in founding a chapter and bringing
Stroller Warriors to your location, please follow these instructions.
By Amanda C.
I finished my first 50K and it was a huge accomplishment! Before that though, I DID NOT FINISH (DNF) my first 50K.
I started out my first attempt at a 50K race terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I literally made myself believe there was no way I could. When race day came, I gave up and I gave up quickly. By mile 10 I already didn’t want to try. It was almost like I wanted to prove myself right by not finishing. I literally stopped trying to make the time cut off, because in my head there was no way I could do it. At mile 20, I was proven right. I didn’t make that time cutoff. I felt like a huge failure. I cried a lot. I made excuses. I literally mourned the loss of a dream. People always say running is a mental game and I learned that the hard way.
It took a while, but I started to turn that DNF into a positive. I ran 20 miles that day when most people don’t even run 20 miles in a week. I had something to be proud of even if I didn’t finish. My Stroller Warrior tribe encouraged me and told me they still believed in me. Slowly I gained my confidence back and decided to try again, but this time I was going to make some changes. This time, I was going to believe in myself.
My friends and I searched for the perfect race. We trained and we trained hard. We ran in freezing temperatures while we watched the sun come up. We ran in the rain. We did intense speed work. These warriors stayed with me and encouraged me every step of the way. I told myself over and over that I could do this; that I would not let this race defeat me. If I started to doubt myself, I reached
out to my tribe and they picked me back up.
This time when race day came I told myself I could do it. That I would absolutely not give up! While we ran my friend told me over and over again, “You're doing it!” and you know what…I did! I did it! I changed my mentality on the entire thing and I actually enjoyed it. We had fun! We laughed and we talked to other runners. They encouraged us and we encouraged them. I crossed the finish line that day with tears in my eyes. I felt like a Warrior. I accomplished my goal and I didn’t let fear stop me this time.
I learned a lot from that dreaded DNF.
The most important thing I learned was to believe in myself.
I want you to believe in yourself too. We are capable of doing amazing things!
Don’t let fear get in your way. Be a Warrior!
by Kim B.
I have always been a runner. I grew up in a house a lot like my own now. My parents were runners and would race on the weekends. Sometimes I would go and hold down a water station or collect bib strips (this was back in the day before time chips). I ran because that’s what I grew up doing. It was a healthy lifestyle and something I wasn’t too shabby at either.
I ran off and on over the years after having kids. I found my place in Stroller Warriors® and loved having a great place for my children, as well as myself. But I still wasn’t consistent and felt like I was running just to run.
Then my son was diagnosed with special needs. My husband was deployed, Stroller Warriors® was supporting me, and I felt I needed something; a way to make this a positive experience. I was overwhelmed and depressed. Several Warriors had just finished running the Marine Corps Marathon and I had just finished my first half marathon. I found myself thinking, “What better way to get through the deployment than to run through it!” I decided to run my first ever marathon! If being a special needs parent was going to be daunting, I was going to take it on with a marathon. Running always helped me relieve stress, so this was perfect!
I decided that the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach would be perfect because there were tons of Stroller Warriors® running this half marathon. Running my first marathon wasn’t enough though. I wanted to give back. I wanted to make this a positive experience, not just for me, but for others as well. I needed to spread awareness for those of us that were struggling in the dark and feeling alone. Running for a cause became my journey.
At the time, therapists weren’t sure what my son was struggling with and he was diagnosed with Apraxia, a rare motor disorder in which the individuals have a difficult time with motor planning to perform tasks like talking or eating. Raising funds for Apraxia Kids became my main focus. I wasn’t focused on how hard the miles were getting during training, how tired I was on the cold winter runs, or how lonely I was with my husband gone and three small children to raise. I was doing something bigger than myself, and that helped me to shift my focus away from me and move it to other people. I wasn’t running for me anymore, I was running for them.
In spite of the deployment and all I had going on in life, the training came easy and the marathon was even easier than I expected. During the day of the big race, I had a copy of all the donors in my pocket. I took them with me on this crazy ride. They were there for me, my son, and all the others diagnosed with this disorder. I prayed for them, my family, and my son all the way to the finish!
That training cycle and my first marathon forced me to see running in a whole new light. Running wasn’t just about me or how I grew up anymore, it was now a way that I could raise awareness and at the same time could help to make other peoples’ lives better! I have since fundraised for several other causes, including Organization of Autism Research and Semper Fi Fund! The races may not have gone the way I wanted them too, but it wasn’t about me. It was about who I can help.
I want to encourage you to train with and race for a charitable organization. When the focus of your race shifts, it can have an astounding impact on your mentality and your training. But not only that, you can take pride in the fact that you are raising awareness for a special cause and are helping many people in the process.
If you’re not sure which charity you want to race and raise money for, you can start by using the website www.charitywatch.org. CharityWatch is an organization you can use to vet charity organizations. This is a great resource to check where the money is going and how much is being used to help those you want to impact.
We can do so much. It’s a joy to give back! I hope you will one day join me in racing for a cause!
If you’ve already raced for a cause, please tell us about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
One Saturday I set out on my long run and decided to take one of my usual routes. I like to vary my routes for safety reasons, but I also like to periodically take the same route to compare my progress. This particular route had a long hill that was a particular challenge for me.
As I started my charge up the hill, I could feel my body start to fatigue and my mind not so sure it wanted to continue. Looking ahead I picked a point and told myself, "I have to make it to the beginning of the railing and then I can walk." The deal made in my head I charged forward. Pushing myself. Pushing my body. Pushing my limits.
As I got closer to the railing -my stopping point- I noticed the air had started to change; it smelled BAD. And then I saw it. There at the base of the railing, right where I was supposed to be allowed to stop and walk. Right there ON MY STOPPING POINT was a dead opossum.
My body wanted to stop. I had just pushed myself further than usual. I was incredibly fatigued but my brain said, don’t you dare stop! It STINKS! So I pushed forward and continued to push past. And do you know what? It was easy to push past. I had pushed myself to the limit, but then had been able to push myself to run just a little bit further. I had (surprisingly easily) pushed myself to do more than I thought I could.
A few weeks later the dead opossum and stench were thankfully gone but as I approached the spot where he used to lay, my body was again fatigued and ready to stop, I told myself, “Oh no! A dead possum! Keep running!” And do you know what. I DID. I was able to trick my body to go a little bit further and a little bit faster than I thought I could. All because of what I told myself in my head. By imagining the dead opossum there, I had tapped into that same push and drive, even when it wasn’t in fact there.
The dead possum taught me an important lesson. Running is far more mental than you can ever realize. So the next time you want to stop, imagine there is a dead opossum you need to get away from and I bet my bottom dollar you’ll keep on running.