The President’s Challenge


I originally posted a summary about my PALA award and participation back in January but I wanted to take a moment now and go a little more in depth about this program.

T-Shirt I Ordered!

I’m not sure how many of you out there are familiar with the President’s Challenge to be healthier, fitter and happier Americans but it really is a great incentive program. If you are already an active individual (like myself) then all you have to do is log in once a week and input your weekly activities for points towards presidential awards. Once you complete certain award levels you can order as much “flare” as you want!

So for instance, I have completed the (PALA) Presidential Active Lifestyle Award – which was 6 weeks of being active at least 30 minutes per day out of 5 days of each of those 6 weeks. Now I can order a certificate, t-shirt, medal, and numerous other things that show I have won this award.

I want to just take a moment to let you all know that these awards are no joke! My husband and many other Marines are participating in this and can use these awards towards promotions in the Marine Corps. These not only show initiative but shows dedication and follow through. I plan to complete each challenge listed on this website and put into my professional portfolio along w/ other awards like my Dean’s List letters from the University of Maryland that I have received.

I figured if I was already going to be working my butt off towards the goal of a marathon by the end of the year I might as well get some awards from the President while I’m at it!

Here’s how it works:

The Homepage

Step 1:

Go to the President’s Challenge Website. In the top right corner you will see a “Login” icon and just below it there are 3 options – Individuals & Groups, Coordinators, and Instructors. Depending on your interest in the program (are you doing this for work or for fun?) you select the login that applies to you. (I chose individual).

Step 2:

Create your account with a Login, password and a challenge level or set goals. (I created a Goals for 2011 list) I started with the Active Lifestyle Challenge and since have moved up to the bronze and silver medal challenges.

Step 3:

Track your Activity.

Once you login to your account you will see another page with options – Activities, Groups, Awards.

Select Activities to login your progress. Don’t worry if you haven’t logged in for a while – you can go back in the calendar for up to a month and enter your activities.

In the groups’ area – you can join or start your own group! I think this would be so much fun!

You can login activity for just about anything that gets you moving. When I had injured my quad at the beginning of the year I was only able to do upper body stuff and stretching (stretching is an option for activity here). Also, I log my house cleaning as well – there are different levels to chose from: light, moderate or vigorous! I don’t know about you but I break a sweat cleaning!

In the Awards area – you can view any awards you have won for your activity input and then order your “flare!” I have already received multiple orders!

The awards I've received so far!

Dude, Where’s my MOJO?


Similarly to what happened to Austin Powers, I do believe that my MOJO has been stolen… but the bandit might be ME.

Is it strange that I am 28 years old, in the best shape of my life, incrementally achieving more and more then ever before and yet…I feel as if I have lost my MOJO? (correction – my mother just called to tell me that I’m actually 29 years old…oops!)

First of all – let’s clarify – MOJO is a slang word for self-confidence, self-esteem or sex appeal! Mainly, I am referring to the sex appeal but really all manners of referring to lost MOJO here are relative to me.

The back-story: Last week, I had a meltdown. Yes, the devil face came out in all of its glory and I was no longer myself. I had morphed into a tattered, stress-monger version of ME. You know – that person that gives a loud sigh of annoyance (passive aggressive anyone?) instead of speaking up about what is really eating them?

I was on the R&R week from group training but still needing to maintain certain mileage goals (which I did), I had midterms for all 3 of my classes (the 4th class was only half the term), I am now driving Nola to and from school (my husband has found his “thing” in biking to work!), I had been planning our budget to know we are still on point for leaving Okinawa debt-free (money always stresses me) and somehow pay for this Honolulu marathon “vacation” in December, planning meals (every 5 days I might add)…and feeling like I was the only one doing EVERYTHING…well, I was just plain old worn the hell out!

Next thing I know, everything annoyed me…

When mommy's unhappy, 'aint nobody happy!

Even though (thank goodness for him) Shane was putting all the dishes away from the washer – he was somehow putting them in all the wrong places…ME – Annoyed! Nola (the fiery little thing) was seriously fussy every day when we came home – ME – Annoyed! I have lost so much weight that none of my clothes fit me. My butt is constantly munching on my oversized granny panties, my jeans are all giving me the saggy butt look and my prepubescent boobs – well, not much to say there that hasn’t already been said in previous posts… ME – ANNOYED! Mojo – nowhere to be found. Just the thought of having to be affectionate or intimate made me automatically hear the words; “I’m too tired” coming from my mouth.

Finally, I had to take a step back and realize that I just needed a day off. I realized that I wasn’t even looking forward to my daily activities. I was waking up at 5 am to run, coming home before Shane left to hop in the shower and then get the little monkey to school by 7:30am, clocking into my study room by 9am and staying there until 4ish when I needed to leave for picking up the Monkey, cooking, cleaning up and then bathing the little monkey (Shane puts her to bed), then getting back to the study room until 8ish when I then crash into the bed – to do it all over again the next day!

I was looking at each day sort of systematically, checklist in hand; ready to check things off one by one. “Have sex with husband” was not on the checklist. “Make time for doing nothing” was not on the list and neither was anything else that resembled normal life. The relationship that Shane and I used to share was nowhere to be found as far as personal or alone time goes. We sort of just made motions towards each other, little butt-taps and smooches hello and goodbye but in the end we were just seeing each other in passing.

I took Thursday off and just sat on the couch, ate an entire Giant size box of Hot Tamales and then went shopping for some clothes. I found 1 pair of Capri’s and a pair of shorts and tops to match both! ME – getting happier and definitely less stressed. I never once logged into any of my classes nor did I crack open a textbook. Friday, I decided to continue this effort of doing nothing this day. I felt great by the time the weekend rolled around. I apologized to my husband for being such a pain over the last few weeks and especially the last week. We talked it all out and he showed me that I put all of this pressure on myself, no one else does. He also completely saw me heading for disaster w/ my high stress levels and wasn’t going to add to them by trying to keep me up passed my 8pm bedtime (I need more sleep these days) w/ pleas for intimacy.

**Don’t get me wrong here, we have always had and still do have an amazing private (it will stay that way) life – but I feel like I can’t say I lost my mojo and not honestly talk about this being affected. This is a reality – this is how life can get away from us if we aren’t willing to acknowledge and then TALK about this stuff. I am sure that other people have experienced this very same issue – especially after having your first child**

I realize now that through all of my goal setting and over achieving I have slowly killed the fun me that wanted to achieve all of this in the first place. The important thing for me to keep in mind here is that I am the one driving this train; I’m not the passenger. If scheduling “down” time is what I need to do – then so be it. (I am so Type-A, I have to schedule down time!) But loosing myself to stress so much so that I can’t even look in the mirror and feel good about the body I have, feel good about the goals and milestones I am meeting, feel good about the amazing husband I have and have the energy for showing him some affection… then what is it all for?

NOW – I am making Thursday’s mandatory chill out days and movie nights. Friday’s are my rest days from working out – which mean I get to have a chill out day and then follow it up by sleeping in!

I’ll admit that I waited until we were laying in bed…in complete darkness…me with my thoughts and Shane trying to fall asleep…I piped up and just started talking. We stayed up until 11pm that night… well, I stayed up chattering away about all the things I had been feeling and how terrible I knew I was being but I just couldn’t figure out any other way to be at the moment. Like, I was watching my own train wreck and helpless to prevent it. Shane, I think, was somewhere between stage 2 and stage 3 sleep part way through my late night confessional! But in the end it felt so much better to just get it all out – even if it meant I had to admit all of the wrong doing and grovel some. My husband is undoubtedly the most even keel person I have ever known, endlessly sympathetic and always supportive.  I’m always amazed at the power one conversation can have. So, if you are reading this and can relate…I suggest just start by speaking up about just one thing that might be festering in there and the rest will come.

Resolution: I am much happier about my mandatory down time. I am always refreshed and ready for the weekend of family time and my Long Slow Runs. My MOJO is making a comeback one new panty purchase at a time! As for Shane – well, unfortunately for him the week I made my confession and we decided to make more time for “us” also happened to be close to “that time of the month” – so his happy ending will be…um, next week!

MOMENT of ZEN!

PAL Award and the Bronze Award!

T-Shirt!

My Presidential Awards and T-Shirt finally came! YAY for an active lifestyle and you better believe these awards are getting inserted into my Curriculum Vitae! Or as I like to call my Lifestyle Resume!

In the end – we have to make sure and maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and our loved ones in order to truly reap the benefits of life! If taking two chill days a week makes me a better wife, mother, student, runner and person than I think that is a small price to pay for my MOJO being returned to me! I am learning so much this year! I now see that sometimes doing nothing at all can do amazing things for you in the end!

Miles ran last week: 23.10

Miles ran YTD: 194.08

My love affair w/ Books…


Here is a picture to give you an idea of just how much I am reading! All in the hopes of making this blog amazing and my experience as well rounded as possible!

I have been learning some really awesome and helpful information about nutrition. Here is what I have learned so far from “RW Guide to Road Races

Chapter 4 – FUEL

• To estimate your daily calorie needs for maintaining your weight, take your present weight and multiply by 13. (Ex: Mine is 133 x 13 = 1729) That number covers your metabolic needs for the day, factoring in light activity. (light activity is not running for miles – LINDA!)

• Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain, approximately 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 25% from protein, and 25% from fat. I was really excited to read this b/c I LOVE carbs and I LOVE meat!

• Carbs are the body’s fuel for speed and power!

Glycemic Index – is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Thank you Wikipedia! High GI food = fast & energy, Low GI food = slow to digest. Everyone with me? These are often given a number rating system and 77 and above = high GI, 55 or below = low GI.

o Before a RUN – Eat low GI foods such as low-fat yogurt, fruit, or old-fashioned oatmeal. Approximately 2hrs before your workout. You can read more on this on page 183 “Adapt Your Snack”

o If you need fuel right before a run go with energy bars, sports drinks, etc so the carbs enter your system fast.

• While running (more than an hour) use drinks, gels or bars for energy.

After a RUN – (30-60min) High GI foods are essential for restocking glycogen stores. Ex: potatoes, cereals, waffles, or fruit smoothies w/ protein.

• All other times of the day go for low GI foods for maintaining health and weight – see page 181 for examples.

• You should aim to consume at least 41oz of water per day.

Pg 183 = Pre-run Snacks

Pg 186 = Eating for Performance

Pg 191 = Snack Ideas

Presidential Champions Challenge

I’m not sure how many of you out there are familiar with the President’s Challenge to be healthier, fitter and happier Americans but it really is a great incentive program. If you are already an active individual (like myself – my awards so far in the pic above) then all you have to do is log in once a week and input your weekly activities for points towards presidential awards. Once you complete certain award levels you can order as much “flare” as you want! So for instance, I have completed the (PALA) Presidential Active Lifestyle Award – which was 6 weeks of being active at least 30 minutes per day out of 5 days of each of those 6 weeks. Now I can order a certificate, t-shirt, medal, and numerous other things that show I have won this award.

I want to just take a moment to let you all know that these awards are no joke! My husband and many other Marines are participating in this and can use these awards towards promotions in the Marine Corps. These not only show initiative but shows dedication and follow through. I plan to complete each challenge listed on this website and put into my professional portfolio along w/ other awards like my Dean’s List letters from the University of Maryland that I have received.

I figured if I was already going to working my butt off towards the goal of a marathon by the end of the year I might as well get some awards from the President while I’m at it!

So no new recipes to report – my lovely neighbor Liz has been feeding me yummy goodness from her house (next door) and I have been munching on my yummy leftovers from this weeks previous recipes! Let me say – the BBQ Turkey Beans were even BETTER after marinating in the fridge…MMM!

If anyone is ever wondering what I am doing when I’m not chasing Nola, training, cooking or sleeping – I’m READING tons of information from RW trying to learn as much as I can so I can pass all of this awesome knowledge off to who ever chooses to read this blog! (I hope there are people out there reading – no comments are being made)

Training Updates – I ran outside today even though the weather was still pretty YUK! I just needed to be outdoors! I ran to Araha Beach and back. (Pic below)

I did my brisk walking warm-up and then jogged to my turn around spot – took a walking break to feed the little one a mum-mum and do some maintenance for myself – then back into stride. This time though heading back I realized two things. (1) That my legs were really aching and I wasn’t maintaining a very good speed and (2) the stroller kept pulling to the left, which was wearing my right shoulder out. Soooo – I then realized after looking down for some time while I was running that one of the stroller tires was flat… REALLY?! Am I really still a rookie stroller mom?! Not to check the tires air pressure! Geesh! Lol! So then I start to focus back on “why are my legs feeling like this” and then it dawns on me – I am NOW running INTO the wonderful Okinawa wind we all love! So no wonder I was making such good time all the way down to the beach – I had some assistance! All in all I had a GREAT run though. It was nice and chilly which kept me feeling fresh. I wanna throw in a quick note – I love, love, love my stroller so much now that I chopped off all that unnecessary frew-frew mommy stuff that I never needed.

I meet with my trainer, Jeanne, for the first time tomorrow! She sent me an email and said “be ready to run outside!” I am so excited and nervous at the same time – I have a feeling she is really gonna break me off. I will take pictures as I have time too or see if I can get Jeanne to photo me crying or puking – b/c both are likely to happen! Wish me luck!

Miles ran today = 3.5

Miles ran to date = 22.39

Remember the few posts ago that I mentioned Rodale (parent company to RW) sending me a wonderful free “Thank You” gift Training Log? Well here is it – just wanted to show everyone just how awesome it really is! AND at the bottom of every page there are motivational quotes from runners.