I am not a runner. I don’t jog. I don’t work out.
My idea of being active includes dancing, hula hooping, and hot yoga every once in a blue moon.
I like to go for occasional short walks to breathe the outdoors air, admire nature, and get to the nearest park with my daughters.
I’m that mom who will go on the swings and get on the slides, but will avoid the monkey bars.
Signing up for a 5K race was never something that sounded compelling to me or that I gravitated toward.
As a child, I used to walk way more than 5 kilometers back home daily, often before the sun rose.
I walked to the nearest river to fetch water, I went to school on foot, and I walked everywhere I needed to go.
When I went to college, I walked at least 15 miles to university and 15 back, so 3.1 miles is not intimidating to me.
Running or walking 3.1 miles is an achievable goal for most healthy people, really.
5K races are the most popular because they are conveniently doable:
You can get your body ready for it fairly quickly.
You can train adequately without neglecting your kids.
You can run the race and be back to mom life in a relatively short time.
I know many mom runners who love the community, the sense of achievement, and the fitness benefits of a 5K.
But, as with everything in life, I am one of those moms who needs a bigger purpose to get on board.
It may be the rebel in me, but I don’t like to do something because everyone’s raving about it.
In fact, I feel an adverse reaction to doing what everyone else is doing.
Having a deep passion and a strong purpose gives us the motivation to stay on track.
There are many non-profit organizations that use 5Ks as fundraisers and that’s something I can subscribe to.
I like raising money for a powerful cause that helps the community – it’s a holistic approach because it involves your mind, your body, and your spirit.
Even if you like to run, when you choose to support a cause that is dear to your heart and your 5K will raise awareness, you will make it more meaningful.
Why I Chose Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K
I decided to run a virtual 5K to support Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Carry Forward 5K, delivered by CSX, because they are tirelessly dedicated to improving the lives of millions of warriors.
Warriors are Veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military.
I was once a military wife and and I am forever a military friend.
More than 52,000 servicemen and women were physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma.
These physical and invisible wounds affect many of my dear friends, whom I am going to carry for!
With the support of the generous community of donors and team members, the Wounded Warrior Project gives a voice to those needs and empowers our warriors to begin the journey to recovery.
Wounded Warrior Project’s free programs and services in individualized mental health and well-being, career counseling, training, financial wellness, independence, health care coverage, and long-term rehabilitative care change lives.
More than $1.3 billion has been invested to help warriors, their families and caregivers live on their terms, mentor fellow veterans and service members, and achieve their highest ambition.
At Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) , they believe that they’ve already paid their dues on the battlefield. I love this philosophy!
The logo for Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is an undeniable symbol that reminds them of their resilience – and their passion for continued service, so we carry each other on a path to recovery.
I want to raise $500 for Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in honor of my friend Charles. He’s someone I deeply admire and whose unconditional friendship has been an anchor in my life.
What inspires me about his service and his journey is what a wonderful husband and father he is and how committed he is to grow and show up as the best version of himself.
Tips To Enjoy Your First 5K
I am not a 5K expert, and yet, I can share some tips that I know will help you make your first 5K race a successful and enjoyable experience, so I will!
Register for your 5K race early so you can start preparing for the event.
You’ll want to train so you can build up your endurance, but choose activities you enjoy.
I would fail at lunges and crunches and all of that, because I would just not be excited to do them.
Before you start conditioning your body, check in with your doctor and ask what is the safest way to go.
Decide that you’re going into this race as the turtle, not the hare. Aim for slow, steady progress, allowing your body to warm up before each run and to cool down after. Stretching makes a difference!
Trust me when I say that being injured is not fun, so if you feel discomfort and something starts hurting, take care of it immediately. Don’t be like me, walking on a fractured foot for almost two months!
Speaking of avoiding injuries, it’s wise to invest in quality sneakers:
They must fit properly.
They must be broken into, but not too worn.
They must be right for running.
You don’t want to end up with blisters, aching soles, or other injuries.
If needed, invest in running clothes that help you feel cute and confident. Take the weather into account, of course, so you are also comfortable.
Hydration is the key to it all. You can drink water or fruit juice, or both. I actually drink a lot of coconut water…I can’t get enough.
I also recommend getting an inspirational water bottle like this one that my daughter took to college.
Another essential is sun protection. Your skin is precious, so block those UV Rays to avoid sunburn and to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Even though training for a 5K or running a 5K doesn’t require a specific diet, I think that eating clean and getting the right nutrition is always helpful to keep you strong and feeling your best.
Of course one of my tips is going to be to stay positive. You can create a mantra that reminds you to keep going, curate a playlist to inspire you, and keep on smiling to send a message to your brain that you’re happy and proud!
I find that I enjoy activities and events a lot more when I have a friend or family member alongside to cheer me on and provide accountability.
They can either be on the sidelines or run right along with you, and then you can celebrate together after you cross the finish line!
In life and in 5K runs, it’s essential to forget the word race and to focus on your own journey.
Don’t worry about when, or about how fast, just ignore time and speed altogether.
I can’t and wouldn’t share any advice or a recommended training schedule, but I can say listen to your body, trust your pace, don’t compare yourself, breathe, and take breaks.
It’s wonderful to feel that you’re strong and you’re challenging yourself, and yet, it’s good to have a balance so you are kind to yourself and can recover quickly.
I am not ashamed to say that I don’t really run 5Ks, I actually dance my way through a 5K.
Completing the mileage is a win, whether I run or I walk, and I feel proud of myself!
What I am most proud of is to support Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and you can too!
Of course, as a mom, I love that I can safely involve my kids in this meaningful endeavor. It’s a great opportunity to get them off screens.
Check out their virtual 5K option here. With your help, we can help veterans!
Would you run for a good cause? Share your thoughts with us below and share with everyone you know tagging @wwp on Twitter and @wwpcarryforward on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtags #WWPCarryForward and #ICarryFor.