Three years ago, she joined Stroller Warriors Camp Lejeune and currently serves as the Assistant Coordinator of SW Miramar. She said, “I never thought that I would be in this position! I consider it quite an honor.” Philomena originally got roped in by a dear friend she met at a Camp Lejeune L.I.N.K.S. class. Philomena never participated in many sports during childhood and thought, “runners were crazy!!! I mean who would want to intentionally go out and run and make yourself do what I thought would be utterly miserable. Boy was I wrong!” Her friend convinced her to come try a workout at least once. She was hooked from there and even got to link back up with her friend at SW Miramar.
Philomena experienced a major setback in 2015. In the beginning of the year, she had a severe herniated disc. After being misdiagnosed, she ended up having to utilize a cane and a wheelchair to get around. With severe pain, and no mobility in her right leg, she finally ended up having back surgery in April. Her doctor informed her she may not ever be back to running after surgery.
Amazingly, she bounced right back post-surgery, stronger than ever. Prior to surgery, Philomena’s longest run was seven miles. Her running dream was to complete a half-marathon, and she was not certain she could do it.
Beyond running benchmarks, Stroller Warriors has helped Philomena cope with four deployments, miscarriages, surgeries, stress, and being separated from family. “Running is my therapy and stress relief, and without SWs I wouldn't be where I am today! Not only has it impacted my life, it has helped my family, as well. My kiddos love to run with mommy, and my hubby has turned into one of us crazy runners, too.” Philomena’s husband also completed his first half, the same day as Philomena.
Philomena’s favorite SW experience was seeing her journey full-circle. She began her running experience in 2013 with Couch to 5K, and this past summer, she was able to lead a Couch to 5K group. “Being able to lead a group of runners to accomplish their own C25K goals was amazing.” Philomena felt great pride in seeing the graduates cross their own 5K finish line. As an added bonus, her five and nine year olds ran with her, as well. (It seems like the little ones are catching the running bug.)
Philomena’s best advice for fellow spouses:
"My biggest advice for new spouses and even veteran spouses is get involved! Get out in the community and make friends. Volunteer and give back. It is the most rewarding and invigorating experience to get out and help others, and in the process, it is helping you as well!"
Thank you Philomena for allowing us to spotlight you and your story!