Friday, June 29, 2012

Making Time

In this world of “GO, GO, GO,” where multitasking is considered a critical skill and technology rules our lives, I should have all kinds of extra time right?  As it turns out, I’m pretty terrible at multitasking – in fact, I’m fairly sure it makes me totally INEFFECTIVE.  I operate on four separate networks out here in Afghanistan, and each e-mail account dings when a new message arrives.  Even if I’m in the middle of something, as soon as I hear that DING, I feel the need to immediately jump over to the other computer and find out what this new critical piece of information could be!  This ensures that I never completely finish a single task until well after 9pm.

So, what am I trying to get at – this ineffective method to which I have a bad habit of approaching daily tasks has significantly affected my workouts in a very negative way.  Last night I found time to start my workout at 10:30pm…not ideal, but you take what you can get.  Walking everywhere is definitely a big change from being back home, so I count all those steps towards my workout.  If I’m feeling sleepy at work, I get down and do a set of push-ups.  Gets the blood flowing and wakes me up!

Regardless of how busy I am, I have to make time for me.  There are many reasons that I workout, but the two most important ones are as follows:

1.  Physical health – it’s important to me.
2. Sanity – working out clears my mind, it allows me to refocus and to have a clear head when I go into the next task.

I guess I felt like writing this to remind me that if I just focus and stay on task, finding time to exercise is not really that difficult and it’s worth every second!  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nasty Comments

When you join the wide world of blogging, you open yourself up to nasty comments. I've seen several posts and tweets that could elicit a mean response, but what's the point? I could respond in kind with an ugly retort, IF they person leaving the comment was brave enough to NOT use the anonymous option.

I'm not even sure why, but I got two comments yesterday on this post. It was written back in November 2011, so I'm really confused as to why not one, but two people were looking at it, but hey, any blog traffic is good, right?!

I got a great comment from one reader encouraging me to take a good look at my diet to ensure that I wasn't erasing any gains I got from running by stuffing my face later. He ended with this:

"But nobody ever became great by just 'accepting' greatness, great people fight great battles to get there. SO go get your victory and make life your bitch."  

I was stoked to read this and truly appreciated him taking the time to write a comment.

On the other side of the spectrum, this is what ANONYMOUS posted:

"If you wore pants that fit, you wouldn't have a muffin top." 

Is that reader correct? Probably. I wear the pants I own. It's what keeps my weight from getting out of control. I'm cheap and I can't really afford a new wardrobe, so it's in my best interest to stay a certain size. Also, I've found that if I bought pants that fit my hips, they would fall right off. My legs are muscular, but not big. I'd be walking around pulling up my pants all day.

I've spent the last hour being frustrated with such a rude comment. I'm done with it. But please explain to me why people feel the need to be anonymously rude...


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BOB(s) Find a Home

Yesterday, 45-50 Stroller Warriors and probably twice as many Mini Warriors gathered for our Tuesday workout. But this was no ordinary Tuesday. This was a workout to remember. We gathered to receive instructions from our group leader, Stephanie, and then set out on a 36 minute Fartlek. It was a good run and naturally, I partnered with Jill. We got in some good intervals and hit the timing perfectly. And while it was a good run, that is NOT what I'm referring to when I tell you this workout was EPIC!

Let me get to the point. A while ago, Military Spouse of the Year, Jeremy Hilton, donated a BOB Revolution SE single stroller to the Stroller Warriors of Camp Lejeune. In order to be fair about who received the stroller, Stephanie created a format where we could submit our nomination and the names would be placed in a bowl for a random drawing.

BOB Revolution SE
For two weeks, we waited in rapt anticipation of who would receive this coveted gift! After our run, we gathered once again and Stephanie held out the oldest Tupperware container I've ever seen and had one of our Mini Warriors draw a name. The name pulled was Nicole Berg, an amazing mother of four who gave up smoking a few years ago and found her love of running. This Warrior wakes up at 4 to log miles before her kiddos arise and then goes out again with one, two, three, or even all four of her kiddos in tow. She was running with a decent jogger, but was in desperate need of a BOB. Needless to say, she was overwhelmed to hear her name called:

Picture courtesy of Elizabeth Harlow
Jacob, her youngest, LOVES his new wheels!
Nicole was so grateful she posted this on FB:

"I cannot even begin to tell you guys how blessed I am to have won this!!! I cannot stop looking at it or pushing it around!! I am truly Over the Moon!! I couldn't wait to get home and give it a spin. So we jumped out of the truck and headed out for a little 2 mile jog! Jacob adores his new 'ride'! He did not want out at all and screamed for about 10 minutes when I made him come in!! All of the kids have taken turns pushing it and Bryce my oldest said it best! "It's Perfect Mom!" And it Truly is!!! I get tearey eyed every time I think about it!! Thank you!! Stroller Warriors Rocks!! 
I thought I had posted this here but it was on my page!!! And HUGE thanks to the HiltonFamily!!!!!"

After a very emotional response, we settled down to hear Stephanie say, "Well, we have a couple more prizes to give away, so let's pick another name." Our Mini Warrior complied and selected none other than her own mom's name!!! Amanda Courtney was happy to hear her name called, but she was floored when Stephanie opened up the trunk to reveal yet another BOB! Yes, we had not one, but two to give away.

Picture courtesy of Elizabeth Harlow
Amanda, a professional photographer, has been a quiet, but dedicated member of Stroller Warriors for over two years. She lends a unique dynamic to the club with her quiet presence, making other SWs feel welcome on a personal level.

Here are Amanda's words from FB:

"I don't even know how to express in words how thankful I am and how excited I was to see that BOB this morning!!! All I know is this club has been my saving grace for the past 2+ years, and this just makes me realize how much I NEED you all..I know I'm not much of a talker at runs, and don't really reach out to anyone, but, please know that I LOVE all you girls and I look forward to SW each and every week. 
I can't wait to take my new stroller out for a run tomorrow morning!!! I have my alarm set for an early wakeup call even though I'm shooting a midnight homecoming tonight!!! Who needs sleep when you can run, right?!?!"

As if that wasn't enough excitement, Stephanie revealed that we had yet ANOTHER BOB to give away. This one was not randomly selected, but given to a SW who received 7 nominations! She has been raising two children while dealing with a deployed husband who is with MARSOC and actively participating in Stroller Warriors since joining earlier this year. She has definitely impacted nearly every member of the club in one way or another.

Shannon Reynolds is such a deserving candidate that no one thought twice about Stephanie's decision to give her the third BOB. 

Shannon shared this with the club on FB:

"It's about time for me to go to bed and Im still in awe of what happened this morning! It took me a while to even post on fb today I couldn't wait for a phone call from Afghan land to tell my husband what this amazing group has given me! I talk to him all the time how I'm doing something for myself and couldn't have done this without you ladies! I joined Stroller Warriors as soon as my husband left in January and this group has helped me keep my sanity through this deployment! I would be totally bored and out of mind with out you ladies. Thank you so much for Always being there no matter what, just the extra push or seeing a smiling face on run mornings help me push through this deployment.
Thankyou for the greatest gift I have ever received my first BOB and I didn't plan on running with a stroller at this Saturdays race and now I'm pushing a beautiful BOB stroller across the finish line Saturday morning and I couldn't be more thrilled!
Thank you so much ladies!"

Now you see why I'm calling this workout EPIC! Here are a couple more pictures from a great day:

The new BOB recipients!

The bottom photo is a group shot with all the BOB strollers we run with! Now all we need is a sponsorship deal with BOB to make this a yearly give away! 

And to Jeremy Hilton and his family:

There are no words to express our gratitude for your generous donation to Stroller Warriors. You have truly changed the lives of these three mother runners and they will be forever grateful. This is just one more reason why I KNOW in my heart that you were the right selection for Military Spouse of the Year! Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do, not just for Stroller Warriors, but for the military community at large. You inspire me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WAC Triathlon Recap

On Sunday, June 24th, I headed down to Wilmington to run the Wilmington Athletic Club Triathlon. It was a short one: 300m swim, 11.5m bike, 5k run. I haven't been in the pool to train since I was pregnant (Weasel turns 2 next month to give you some perspective!) and it's been months since my bike tires have felt actual pavement. I have done a bit of riding on the trainer when Weasel naps, but otherwise, not much. Luckily I've been running for the last year and half or this would have kicked my bootie!

With my setup

Pat, Jill and Liam pre-race. They take turns racing while the other cheers and watches the kiddo. What a great team!

My friend, Jess, was kind enough to volunteer to ride down with me and, being a seasoned triathlete herself, provide me with some tips for the race. She also let me borrow her bib belt which came in handy.

My friends, Liz and Jess (on the right). I didn't get a picture of her on race morning, so I stole this old one from FB.

After I checked in and staged my gear, I headed over to the heated pool to do a warmup lap. Thank goodness I did, because that's when I found out my goggles didn't work! I ended up tying both rubber straps to secure them, but water was still leaking in. I discovered that Weasel had removed the rubber around the actual goggles, so after fixing that, I thought they were good to go. When I registered, they asked me for my 100m swim time. I had no idea, so I guessed a 1:55. That put me in line at number 95 and 26 minutes into the race I hopped into the pool to start my swim. It was 6 lanes down and back. On the first push off, I realized my goggles were definitely NOT fixed. Nevertheless, I continued to swim, passing two ladies and then enjoying some clear lanes. I finished the swim in 5:56 (6th for overall females) and quickly made my way to the transition area.

Me and my fellow SW, Darcie, who was doing her first tri! This is just after my warmup swim when I discovered my goggles SUCKED!

Waiting in line to start the swim. I think I had just witnessed one of several head-on collisions in the pool!

And I'm off...

Exiting the pool and heading towards the transition area

53 seconds later, I was headed out on to the bike course, a 2-loop course with tight, technical turns. The staggered start didn't allow for much interaction along the bike course and I found that I passed two people and was passed by two others. The 11.5 miles took me 38:24, way longer than it probably should have if I had invested more training time.

I ran my bike well passed the "mount" line because the course started with a little hill. I didn't know what gear my bike was in, and I didn't want to get stuck:)

Starting my second loop. I was so bored at this point and really wishing I had someone to ride with.

I had decided not to wear socks for the first time ever and popped on my running shoes right away. I now know why people invest in those quick laces as I felt like it took a lifetime (55 seconds) for me to tie my shoes. And if you're going to buy the quick ties, you might as well add in one of those straps that holds your racing chip, or your ankle may end up looking like this:

This is from my run on Monday, but you get the idea. I was wearing one of those plastic bands they give you and apparently I didn't have it high enough or tight enough.

The plastic band rubbed my ankle raw:(

But soon enough, I was out on the course and running down people one-by-one. I'm pleased to say that I passed about 10 people and was not passed by a single runner. I finished the 5k in 23:46. It was by no means my fastest run time, but I was happy with it. The temps were brutal, but they had two great water stations available that we passed twice since it was an out-and-back course.

Someone was happy to be off the bike!

I don't run like this...I was putting my bib on!

The final turn before the finish line.

My friend Jill's husband was running too and it was so nice to see him a couple times throughout the course. It was also a great pick-me-up to see friends cheering me on! A fellow Stroller Warrior, Heidi, even brought her mini-warrior, Maddie along to cheer!

Heidi and Maddie. (Also not from race day, obviously:). This was taken a week or two after she gave birth. Yes, we are all jealous!

All in all, it was a great race. I ended up placing 3rd in my age group and 7th among all females (63 total females raced). I know I need to do some swimming and biking beforehand next time around, but this was one last thing to do for fun before turning to on MARATHON TRAINING! I promise my next post will finally include the plan I'm going to use. It has been really tough sorting through existing plans without deciding to quit before even beginning!

Me and Pat with our race "trophies." Pat placed second in his AG with a time of 1:06:36