We "Got it Dunn"! New World Record!

What a fun day!

We broke the Guinness Book of World Records record for a woman pushing a double stroller in a half marathon by over 8 minutes, bettering the World Record to 1:39:23.55.
I’ll recap, with tips highlighted – in case you are crazy enough to do something like this 🙂
Tip #1: Do your homework and find an awesome race to attempt the record at! This is harder than it seems. You’ll want to find something flat, protected from wind, few turns, USATF certified, and (of course) that will allow a double stroller on the course. I was so lucky to find Karen, the race director of the Get It Dunn races in Menomonie, WI. If there ever is an awesome race director, and even more awesome person, it is her. Seriously.
The weekend started the Friday evening before the race when I had the opportunity to speak at the race’s pasta feed. It is always so fun to present my story to groups – and to meet individuals afterwards to answer questions and help them with their journeys!
We then headed to the hotel. It was a feat in itself to get the girls in the room and carry everything we needed for the evening/morning into the room. We each had a bag, add a pack and play for Greta to sleep in, Anna’s bumbo seat (to make eating breakfast easier), Anna’s food, my pumping stuff, etc. The stroller stayed in the trunk. You would have thought we were packed for a week!

What is more fun for a kid than staying overnight in a hotel? And playing with their race bibs?
Tip #2: Pack well ahead of time! I had a dozen packing lists, I think. Presentation list. Anna overnight list. Greta overnight list. My race list. Keep-the-kids-occupied-in-the-stroller list. You get the picture.
We laid out our stuff for the race and then tried to put both of the girls to bed. Greta popped her head out of her pack and play about a dozen times while we were getting ready for bed to ask, “Are you asleep yet?”. Once Anna was fed and lights were out, all of us slept well (amazing!).
The race started at 7:45. We wanted to be there at 6:45, so the alarm clock was set for 5:30. We got into our race gear, changed each of the girls, and headed to the hotel’s continental breakfast. I was impressed with the Best Western’s spread! I hadn’t stayed at a BW in a while – and now would definitely do so again. I mixed up a bottle of UCAN (spilling all over, only me…), and ate a bowl of oatmeal and a piece of toast. Nate and I tag-teamed and helped Greta with her breakfast while feeding Anna some oatmeal and a bottle.
We then loaded up into the car and drove off to the race start!

As any classy nursing mom should, I pumped on the drive to the race start.

Parking was a breeze as UW Stout has plenty of large parking lots, and they had a port-a-potty at the edge of the lot. Nice.
Tip #3: Bring people to run along side you – both for your amusement and to amuse the kiddos!
Who better to invite along than Mr. Jeff Lanners?! He, being the awesome person he is, was up for the task. We met and took off for an easy 2 mile warm-up. Nate pulled the stroller out of the trunk during that time, set it up, and took the girls out of their car seats and had them hang out in the back of the car while he worked. When I got back, he took off for a little warm up. One of our main goals was to make sure both girls were well fed (especially Anna!), so I propped a bottle into Anna’s mouth. Greta said she was full, so we just read a book while Anna happily drank.

Tip #4: Put as much food into your kids as possible before the race.
Tip #5: Pump up those tires! (Bring a bike pump for last minute air)

Gel taped to handle of stroller. Hand held water bottle also on stroller – in case weaving in to get water at the water stops was an issue. It wasn’t (just once I couldn’t steer the stroller in to the water stop fast enough) – and the water bottle fell. Jeff carried it the rest of the way for me.
Positioning things (toys, blanket, food, bottle) in the stroller so that Greta could find them if needed.

Nate pumped up the tires in the stroller one last time. For all of you stroller-pushing runners out there, this makes a huge difference!! The tires were probably over-inflated a little, but that makes for easier pushing (downside: a bumpier ride for the kiddos).

Stroller: 30 pounds. Kids: 41 pounds (Greta 25lbs, Anna 16lbs). Stuff inside the stroller: 4 lbs.
I took another swig of my UCAN, secured the front panel of the stroller, and jogged over to the start!

Put kids in stroller at the last possible minute. I didn’t want them in the stroller for any longer than they had to be.
Defeat the Stigma! I’m not afraid to talk about mental health issues – please feel like you can be open as well!
A picture of that picture 🙂
I placed myself just ahead of the 1:40 pace group. I had no idea what I could run, but knew that I had just run a 1:32 (low) at Earth Day a couple weeks ago. Slowing 8-10 minutes because of the stroller seemed reasonable?
Everyone in the race was super nice about letting me & my huge stroller get in position in the middle of the pack. At first I positioned myself at the edge of the group but then realized it would be nearly impossible to push and steer the stroller across the starting mat.

Set, GO!
I kept to a “conservative” first mile – 7:35. It felt easy, so I decided to let myself go a little and find a comfortable pace. 7:10s seemed comfortable, so I went with it! The people I was around had a lot of fun with me, the girls, Nathan and Jeff. Mostly with Jeff as he was pretty chatty (the best kind of pacer!) – and also ran up and down a grass hill at about mile 2. Nate told him there was a quarter at the top of it…. so, naturally, he sprinted all the way to the top, back down, and then to catch us again…
Mile 2
The miles ticked by fairly easily. Through half way I was on pace for a 1:37. Not bad, I told myself!
Nate fell off our group at that point. I could tell early on that he was not enjoying the 7:10s (he complained, hey! I was promised 7:30s!). Jeff and I continued on.
The girls have done countless miles in the stroller so luckily they did GREAT the entire time. Tip #6: condition the kids! Greta sang along the way, which brought a smile to my face: “The farmer in the dell! The farmer in the dell! Hi-ho-the-dairy-o, the farmer in the dell”. Anna was fast asleep. Jeff and Greta talked a little bit. She mostly pointed out things: “Look at that!”, “What is that called?”.

I also had to invite Jeff so that he could spruce up our mid-race pictures 🙂
Tip #7: Have the stroller packed with things to amuse them – and a bottle in case a little one decides they are hungry. 
At mile 9 or 10, I started to struggle. All of a sudden I broke out in goosebumps. I became a little light-headed and my pace slowed considerably. Uh-oh, I thought… how much time do I have “in the bank”?
I stopped at the next water stop, took down 2 glasses of water and dumped another 2 cups on my head. That seemed to help a bit. I continued to try to cool myself at every chance I could. I think body temperature was a definite factor (although it was pretty cool out) – not only am I warmer in general now (baby weight, also nursing so metabolism is higher), but the energy to push 75+ pounds for that long is significant!
Tip #8: Make sure to take multiple cups at every water stop as well as dump water over your head. (note for myself for next time… if there is a next time)
At mile ~11, I looked ahead and saw a gigantic hill in front of us. Big hills look even bigger when you are running towards it with a heavy stroller. Pretty sure I swore under my breath.
Jeff told me to just look 5 inches in front of the stroller wheel, which helped. I still slowed to a walk for a decent portion of that hill; it wasn’t that much slower than trying to run with the stroller. I looked at Jeff. Oof, my eyes conveyed. Just keep moving, he assured me. The slower pace and walking sections allowed Nate to catch back up. I was gasping for air like I had just done an 800m race! Yikes! Good thing I have huge lungs and recover quick… after calming my breathing I was good to start charging ahead again!
Greta started to cry when we started back up after the hill. Either she could tell I was struggling, or she had been excited to be done & was disappointed to learn we were still going when I started running again. Jeff and Nate took the role of toddler-distraction. “Hey, Greta! Look at that police car over there!” “Is that a puppy I see?” Fortunately she was easily re-directed, and that was the only portion of the race that either kid fussed at all.
We were down to less than 2 miles. Then down to less than 1. Oh my goodness! We were going to do it! We weaved through the 5kers finishing. Normally this isn’t a big deal, unless you’re as wide as a freight train trying to go between people and through smaller paths. Nate and Jeff yelled out to the people we were approaching to clear the way. I appreciated it!

Goooooo, Nichole! You’re almost there!
We crossed the finish line in 1:39:23.55 (chip). I obviously lost a lot of time during the last 5k, but I don’t think I would have raced it any differently! I also don’t think I could have been luckier with the weather, which was nice and overcast – although warming significantly by half way in. I also couldn’t have asked for anything more from Greta and Anna did in the stroller. It was the longest they had been in the stroller, and any number of things could have gone wrong (as in: Greta sneezing and then crying for miles because, “Mom, I have BOOGERS!”).

Anna, post-race, giving a thumbs up. She appreciates holding a running world record before she can even walk.
The race director brought us up to the podium during the award ceremony to give me a certificate – and shirts for each of the girls. How cool is that?!?

Not sure what I’m saying.
As you can tell from the race photos, I had a TON of fun with the entire record-setting attempt! From the preparation (even pushing a training partner’s 5 year old on my lunch-hour runs!) to figuring logistics, to the race itself – it was a blast. Now, would I do it again? Maybe if I have to defend the record… that’s a big maybe… although we are already signed up for the Get it Dunn race for 2018 🙂

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  1. Congratulations, and thanks so much for the detailed account of your feat! I hope Guinness approves it. I am going to try for the triple stroller record later this year, and am in the process of planning that effort 🙂

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