This post is sponsored by Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K.
Here I am, training for a 5K race in the middle of August, during a San Diego heat wave! It is sweaty and not too pretty, but it’s for a good cause.
A 5K race may not be challenging for some, but for me, it requires months of training and preparation. Last year, I gave birth to baby #5. Traditionally, I like to find a 5K race with a good charity and let that motivate me to get back in shape and lose the baby weight. The tradition took a little longer this year (mostly because 5 kids and COVID is a tough combination!), but I’m pleased that I found a good cause: I am running in the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Carry Forward 5K, delivered by CSX.
This 5K race is a little different than most. First of all, because it’s in San Diego, it’s a virtual event. So on race day, I will pin on my runner’s bib and track my own progress running through my neighborhood. But even if the race was in person, it would still be a unique experience because of the purpose and the mission behind it.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) honors and empowers wounded warriors by helping them take the next step of their journey and become valued members in a community of heroes. They serve veterans and service members who received a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound after September 11, 2001. They offer free support and programs to help wounded warriors set goals and achieve their full potential. The Carry Forward 5K not only brings awareness to this important mission, but gives race participants a chance to “carry for” those who have sacrificed so much.
I have never personally been wounded, and I am not a veteran. But as the spouse of a Purple Heart recipient, I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot of people to carry for. I’m not a great runner, but every step in the right direction is a step I’m willing to take. The great mission of WWP will inspire me to keep running, and I hope it will inspire you too! On Saturday, August 29, you may see me running through my San Diego neighborhood. You can join me from your own neighborhood, gym, or a treadmill near you by signing up for the San Diego virtual 5K race here.
Here’s who “I Carry For” during the Carry Forward 5K
I Carry For… my husband. He was wounded in Iraq in 2004 when an IED exploded through his foot. He eventually healed and recovered and has remained in active duty, but I will never forget the terrifying phone call where I learned he was injured, or the sacrifices he had to make while learning to walk again. Every year, many service members are injured while serving their country. During my first mile, my motto is that I Carry For my husband and all wounded service members.
I Carry For… military spouses and caregivers. When a service member is wounded physically or mentally, their family members are the ones who share the burden. Many caregivers feel alone and unsupported as they make sacrifices for their hero and the family. The motto of my blog has always been “we are all in this together!” It’s important to me that military loved ones are always able to find a supportive community to help them through military life challenges. My Seasoned Spouse blog and resources are all about providing an encouraging community. So during my second mile, I will remember that I Carry For military loved ones.
I Carry For… new moms. I have never been a fitness guru, and becoming a mom is not easy on anyone’s body. After I had my first baby, I remember thinking that I would probably never lose the baby weight and would probably be a little overweight for the rest of my life. But by focusing on a healthier diet and regular exercise, I was pleased that the weight eventually melted away and I ended up weighing LESS than I did before I was pregnant or married! Then came baby #2 shortly afterwards.
When he was just a few months old, there was a casualty in my husband’s unit during their deployment to Afghanistan. A 5K race was organized to raise funds for the young widow and their toddler. I was only a few months postpartum and had not been running at all. However, it was such an important cause that I joined a Couch to 5K program to get in shape slowly and steadily. I started off jogging for just one minute at a time, and in a few months I was proud to complete the 5K and help that widow.
Since then, I have found various races to inspire me to get back in shape post-baby. In between babies #3 and #4, I competed in a Sprint Triathlon (shorter version of a triathlon) and placed 3rd in my age group! After baby #5, I was starting all over at zero again. Babies don’t end the health and fitness of a new mom, and you can change your fitness level any time you choose. It isn’t always easy, but it is possible with dedication and hard work. So during mile three, which will certainly be the hardest, I Carry For all the moms and military spouses who have put their fitness on the back burner because of military life demands. I hope to inspire many!
This Saturday, you can follow my 5K journey on Instagram and Facebook. If you are able, please consider joining the virtual event and running in or near your home! You can join my San Diego virtual race here. Help me put the WWP mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors in motion by learning more about Wounded Warrior Project and Carry Forward.