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!

Let’s Talk: Sweatbands


Last year on a trip back to the states for a family visit (while my husband was deployed) my old but always-faithful Garmin broke. So I started wearing my husbands watch (also a Garmin) to run with until he came home in April of this year. Being on the hunt for a new watch I decided to keep an open mind to all brands and styles. After reading countless reviews I decided to give the new Nike plus GPS sport watch a try.  I’ll post a review of my experiences so far w/ the watch later.

These are the "off" name brand at Sports Depot here in Okinawa.

For most of us women – GPS watches are big on our wrists. I’m used to the cumbersome feel but this watch (once I get sufficiently covered in sweat) moves around on my wrist after the first mile or so. This ever so slight motion distracts me – I know, I’m weird – BUT really, the feeling of this slimy sweat-soaked band moving around with my arm strides annoys me. I find myself constantly adjusting or trying to tight it in the middle of a run.

Plenty of room to move!

THE FIX: After careful consideration about what would be the easiest and most comfortable way to remedy this problem – I decided that I needed to go old school and buy some sweatbands. I figure if I wear the sweatband underneath the watch it will (1) prevent it from sliding around and (2) hopefully keep my hands from getting so sweaty as well. The sweat from my arms sometimes runs right down to my hands and I see sweat flying off my fingertips when I run OR I go to wipe sweat from my face and my hand is sweatier than the spot on my face I am wiping!  (This might sound strange – to have this much sweat – but living in a subtropical climate at the peak of summer is NO JOKE!)

Much better, don't you think?

After getting to feel the material (terry cloth) of the sweat bands I decided I would try the larger ones on my right wrist and actually use them for wiping sweat from my brow – reference the comment above about wiping sweat from my face! It will take some getting used to – having some warm on my body in such hot weather. I am sure their usefulness will prove priceless though!

Maybe I should "BeDazzle" it! LOL!

I posted a question comment on the WOOT FB page (trail running group in Oki that I’m a member of) for suggestions on sweatbands. One of the group members suggested this – Turns out there is a great website for super cheap sweatbands and all sort of other running accessories that an active individual might need! Check them out here!

I realize that (after googling sweatbands extensively) not much has changed in the world of sweatbands since the 80’s! Okay – maybe they aren’t fashion accessories anymore but they still rock! Also, pricing seemed to really vary depending on where you were buying them. At the Sports Depot I went to here in Okinawa they carry all brands from Nike, Puma, Under Armor and they all seemed pretty much the same. They are thick and made from terry cloth (mainly) and soft. I bought the cheapest ones I could find there (and they are still more expensive than the online ones) because there didn’t seem to be a difference. So unless you are specifically looking for the swoosh on your wrist, I would advise just basing your purchase on pricing.

This book is a "must have" for all mother runners out there!

I posted the same question comment on the Run Like a Mother FB page (didn’t getting any feedback until this morning). One mother runner suggested Bondibands…and here is my 2 cents!

Click the link in the text below to start shopping!

*In the world of headbands (sweatbands) there is a front runner company, Bondibands, who has come up with a bunch of super cute designs out of a really neat super stretchy, thin, sweat wicking material. You can even get matching bandana’s for your running “buddy” (dog)!

from bondiband.com

Training Updates: My First 10 Mile Run!


Totally True!

Well, it’s about that time again…yup – final exams are this week! Right on schedule – Nola woke up with a runny nose, cough and slight fever. This is totally typical and I have grown to expect catastrophe the week of final exams. It never fails – once every 10 weeks my child gets very ill and I am back to being a sleep deprived, emotionally needy, panic-stricken mess trying to prepare for exams and take care of her and hope that Shane’s flight in from Thailand is not delayed!

Never fear – I have planned for this – I only scheduled my exams for 2pm – that way no matter what happens throughout the night I still have a change to study in the morning OR nap! Last time I scheduled all my exams for 9am thinking I just wanted to get them over with the day of the exam – but this didn’t leave me much wiggle room for being tired or getting anything else done but taking Nola somewhere so I could take my exam.

BUT… on the bright side – I have been able to celebrate great milestones this week! I successfully completed my first double-digit run Saturday morning. My awesome neighbor Alicia accompanied me. She is training for the Izena Triathlon in October so I guess we really helped each other! (She also ran my very first 10K with me a few months ago along with our neighbor Kelly!)

My Nike Stats

We dropped Nola off at Jeanne’s house (her daughter babysat) at 5:30am and headed out from there for our run. No exciting route – just ran from Plaza Housing to Kadena Gate 2 and to the shoppette on base. We took in some Hammer Gels and used the little girls room before heading back. This gave us a moment to relax and drink some water.

I actually really like running on the Air Force Base b/c there are tons of options for routes to take and there are tons of options for bathrooms if needed! I still get nervous about having to poop in the middle of a long run! Lol! Hey – running keeps you regular, that’s for sure!

Our GPS Route

I am still amazed at how the time just flew by for us on this run. We both chatted the whole time and agreed it was a very smooth run. Having someone to run with just makes a world of difference. Now, I admit, I like to run alone most of the time but not for my LSR days.

There is a women I met through the on island WOOT group who wants to train together (she is doing the Naha Marathon) but we haven’t panned anything out yet. But the prospect of having a running partner for the duration of my training is very appealing!

This MILESTONE also means I am past a certain point in my training! Only double digit LSR from here on out! Eeeeek!

Here is my email to Jeanne to let her know the run stats:

Today – First 10 miler! Success! It went by so fast. Alicia is such a strong runner and very chatty like me. We ran and talked the entire way.
Here are my miles:

Mile 1: 10:28
Mile 2: 10:04
Mile 3: 10:26
Mile 4: 8:57 (long downhill on Kadena)
Mile 5: 9:10
Mile 6: 10:09
Mile 7: 10:23
Mile 8: 10:34
Mile 9: 9:01
Mile 10: 9:35

My quads are definitely sore and I have been icing and resting. We stopped at the shoppette to take in our gels and water, use the restroom and then headed out again. I am really happy with how well I was able to do that distance and not feel like I was going to die!

Nutritional Tidbits:

I found Salmon Burgers at the Commissary today! Wahoo! I haven’t tried them yet but I am very excited to see an alternative option to Turkey Burgers! You’d have to live here to understand WHY this is so exciting and note worthy! It is rare that you get new items into the Commissary – let alone a healthy one! Mostly you see things no longer being supplied due to a lack of demand more than anything else.

I hope these are YUMMY!

New Stuff! 

I ordered my very first pair of Injinji Socks today! I am very excited about these. Shane had been reading some article in Runner’s World about how long distance runners prefer there b/c even after their feet got soaked with sweat their toes never got all blistery from rubbing together b/c their feet were (essentially) wearing gloves! So, I’ll put them to the test and let ya’ll know! Plus, maybe these will make my Vibrams feel better on my feet. I’ll report back on this too.

Toe Socks Toe-tally Rock!

Miles ran this week: 26

Music to my…KNEES!


Nola: Day 4 Typhoon Muifa - The natives were getting restless!

Well it was hard for me to get motivated after Typhoon Muifa trapped me in my house for 3 days. I don’t know about you guys but for me – motivation is a daily affirmation! If I have several days of not being able to affirm my commitment to something like working out and eating healthy – it becomes increasingly more difficult to stay focused!

Thursday – TCOR-1 – Did Upper Body circuit inside the house. Doing well with maintaining positive attitude about being here alone while my husband is in Thailand – NOT experiencing the second typhoon of the season! I had gone shopping on Wednesday in preparation for the storm. I felt sufficiently ready!

Friday – TCOR-1E – Did workout video in the evening. Upper Body & Core. My motivation was starting to fade as I realized how “un-fun” workout videos really are after you have had a personal trainer enter your life. I started to slowly fall off the Paleo wagon as I helped Nola eat her Graham Crackers as a snack! Then some cheese sticks, then some other random pantry items (there were many) that had been staring at me.

Saturday – TCOR-1E still – Didn’t do much this day – had already done all the house stuff I needed to do, I was bored out of my mind reading for school – so I just sort of lay like broccoli on the couch. Fully fallen off of and being run over by the Paleo Wagon. I won’t (or rather can’t) recall or recite everything that I ate but it wasn’t pretty.

Sunday – It was still pretty windy and overcast out but overall the weather was normal. I just seemed to now be in a funk of lying around feeling lazy. I found numerous excuses to NOT run w/ the stroller. You know, there might be lots of debris in the road, tree limbs and such…basically the motivation wasn’t there. Feeling sorry for myself for overindulging in lots of things that were now making my tummy gurgle.

Monday – I had a group project that was due for my Nutrition class, I was the group leader and responsible for the final submission. I hate being subjected to group work over a distance education course. People are barely responsible enough to log in everyday and do the work they need to barely pass let alone fully participate in a group effort. That is why I designated myself the group leader so I could at least have better control over who was responsible for what – and needless to say, but I will – I did most of it! I was done sending people relentless emails about tasks due and what I still needed. I just did it myself which kept me on the computer til almost 11pm. If you know me…you know I am in bed by 8:30pm most nights!

Tuesday – Personal Training w/ Jeanne! I was still struggling with where my motivation was but knew that I was looking forward to a good thrashing. It’s always scary when you show up to train with Jeanne and there is virtually NO equipment around. This is how you know you’re really in for IT! It being an ass kicking by yourself with yourself while she cheers you on and you somehow forget that you asked for and are paying for this!!!

WOD:

1 ROUND =

Run 400m

15 knee to elbows

15 knee-ups

15 burpees

15 TRX suspended pushups

She prefaced this workout with letting me know just how hard it was for HER and everyone else who has done it! First off – if this is a workout that was tough for her to do than BOY am I in for it! Lol! The timer was set for 30 minutes and I was to do as much as I could in that time – no one had made it to a completed 4th round.

I started out (I felt) strong. I was psyched, telling myself the whole run that I totally had this – slow and steady wins the race! I was happy with my initial effort through all of the hanging stuff (knees to elbows is super tough) – was VERY glad that I bough weight lifting gloves and always keep them handy because I never know when I’ll need them! I finish the first round and head out for my 400m run.

I come back a little slower on my round 2 400m run but still at a good enough rate that I could possibly make 4 complete rounds in 30 minutes. Somewhere coming up the steps I realize that this workout seriously is TOUGH!

Knees-to-Elbows

I head out for round 3 and when I get back somewhere between the steps and doing my 15 knees to elbows my breakfast decides it no longer wants to remain in my intestinal tract. I get the overwhelming sense of throwing up and it consumes me. I stop. All I can picture is my breakfast – crepes with vanilla crème filling. OH god – stopping picturing it – there’s that feeling again… Oh god!

I try to keep going but it keeps coming back. I burp a little, spit a bunch and keep going but way slower. I have resolved to know that I will not make it to 4 rounds in 30 minutes.

CONCLUSION – 5 days of not doing much, eating MUCH and having it all come back up your throat on Tuesday… that is motivation enough to NOT let this be a repeat event! Still on the schedule for that afternoon was another 2 miles to run! YUP – that’s right! We are now doing double workouts. I train in the AM with Jeanne and then before I head to get Nola I hit the gym (to beat the heat and take it easy on my joints) and bike or run. I actually really like breaking it up like this. I feel better for getting the miles in and not being completed wasted tired all the time from having tough and long morning workouts everyday.

Map of Comprehensive Park

Wednesday (today) – Ran 6 miles. Nice and Easy! I knocked these out with a little stiffness and a lot of core soreness! Hanging from a pull-up bar and pulling your knees to your elbows is super tough and I was feeling all of those muscles on my run. I went out to Comprehensive Park – it’s a local athletic park with tons of trails and little pond, bridges, a recreational pool, open fields and a beachside view!

I forgot how much I loved running there – especially with all of the shade the trails offer. They have been doing lots of construction there and improving their running trails. There is now a 5K path that is covered in the same materials their running track is. So it’s this rubbery like surface that has cushion to it. Not enough to make your run feel sloppy but just enough to make your knees say, “THANK YOU!” By the time I headed over to this area of the park I was at mile 4 and my knees were starting to ache a little – AS SOON as I hit that cushioned track material I could feel the difference!

If you haven’t been over to Comprehensive Park I suggest giving it a try. If you haven’t been there in a while I suggest a revisit! They have only completed the construction to half of the park but the entire 5K loop has been resurfaced. The paths that have been redone are also almost double as wide as before so a jogging stroller of any size would be perfect!

School Updates: Next week are my finals! I have spaced them out so I can have ample time to study for each individually and then next session I am back to just one class! Phew! That will be a nice break from this session (4 classes) BUT I’ll be taking STATISTICS! EEEEEK!!

Nutritional TidBits:

So about those Crepes that were up in my throat! They are actually extremely yummy and I have been eating them very regularly. My sister-in-law recently trained for and competed in a Bikini Competition in Washington State. She shared this recipe with me. I (as usual) tweaked it to fit my nutritional needs but I really like them either way. I will share her recipe and photos here but also give you my rendition of crepes and crème!

Kayla’s Protein Crepes

Banana Crepe

Ingredients:

4 egg whites (one yolk)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 packet of Splenda

1/2 tsp vanilla flavor

dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend (or blend in a bowl, with a whisk, by hand). Coat a non-stick frying pan with Pam olive oil spray, and heat on med-high for a few mins until hot. Pour half of the mixture into the pan, and once the top is bubbly, flip over. Repeat! Easy peasy..

Blueberry Crepe

Now, there are quite a few different filling/topping options, but here are a few of my favorites:

“PB&J” Protein Crepes:

Add one Tbsp of peanut butter (or PB2, powdered peanut butter) and  1/4 cup frozen blueberries (heated up in the microwave for 30 sec) to the middle of the crepe, and roll it up! Top with sf syrup if desired 🙂

“Peaches & Cream” Protein Crepes:

Mix 3 oz of nonfat, plain greek yogurt with 1 tsp of sf pudding mix (vanilla or white chocolate flavor)- this is your “cream”.. Chop up half of a fresh peach into 1″ cubes, and add to the cream (you may also add some chopped pecans or walnuts). Fill your crepe with this delicious mixture, roll, and top with sf syrup if desired!

** Other options include strawberries or blueberries and “cream”, bananas and peanut butter, or just about anything else you can think of!

The macro-nutrient values for the actual crepes themselves (excluding topping options)=
Calories: 186g
Fat: 6g 
Protein: 29g (this may vary depending on the protein powder you use)
Carbs: 3.5g

Add 1/2 grapefruit or 1/2 cup of veggies to make this a “complete” meal!

Pairing a lean protein with fresh (or even frozen) veggies at each meal is a crucial component of a fat-burning diet!

My version:
½ Cup of Egg Beaters
1 heaping tbsp of Almond Meal
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of vanilla extract
 
Directions: Whish together and watch a YouTube video on how to make crepes – follow the YouTube directions! Lol! Then I make a crème with an instant pudding mix (I really like Pistachio for this – it’s a good combo of flavors). Take whatever flavor of instant pudding you like and mix it with 1 can of Coconut Milk. Put in fridge and let it set over night. The next morning it is nice and thick for a crème. I usually make two crepes and put the crème between them and roll them up and eat it with a fork.

Time Flies When You’re Running!


This is how many weeks I have been training! Wahoo! Where has the time gone?

This will be a short post! I feel terrible taking so much time off from my blog when there have really been some exciting things I have been doing, learning and goals met!

I won’t bore you with the details of how busy life can be – we already know these things!

Well Shane is away for several weeks in Thailand so I had to drop out of my early morning group fitness class – which really bums me out because I was enjoying the moral we all were building and the friendships too! BUT – I have to say – I have been feeling eager to get back to my one-on-one thrashings with Jeanne! PLUS – I really enjoyed the time that we had chatting about life stuff, fitness tidbits and well – this might sound lame but… it was the only time I got “girl chit-chat” time in…no, really! (Lame, I know – I need to get out more!) So lets catch-up on where my training has gone!

The trail we run is called the Habu Trail - and these are Habu's in Sake! Supposed to be strong stuff!

WOOT Run – a few weekends ago Jeanne sent me a goal of 8:30 min pace for a 4mile run. I decided that I was running with the local Women’s running group (trail running that is) for that run. This was a paved trail and one that I have run several times but never that fast. I made sure to let my goal be known – keeping myself accountable for it! Then, I immediately set out to pace with the leaders of the pack! I was really just chasing after them for the first mile or so and then slowly closed the gap. These ladies kept me honest and I ran the 8:30 pace all the way up and down those crazy farm roads! Seriously – proud of myself!

Last Wednesday I was really proud of myself – I ran to the morning group session (the last one I was able to attend) at the Plaza Housing pool, did the swim workout with the group, and then ran home! Total mileage was a little over 8.5 miles and it took me roughly 1 hr and 30 minutes. I averaged a 10:43 pace with the run there all uphill and the run home all downhill!

This weekend I was running with the stroller (27lb monkey plus 20lb chariot) and I still made my LSR (8.47) in an 11 min pace! I wasn’t running it for pace I was just trying to survive it! I picked the beach run since it is the flattest place I know of around here and even though that meant making the loop 3 times – it was worth it! I headed out early enough that we were in the shade for almost the entire run!

Todaywas my first day back to one-on-one training! Jeanne was tough – my quads are smoked!

The workout:

800m run @ ¾ pace

20 Thrusters w. 18lb bar

400m run @ slightly slower than sprint pace

20 thrusters w. 18lb bar

200m all out sprint

and then we did it all over again working backwards and ending w/ a set of thrusters.

This is an example of a Thruster - I was not that bad-a$$ - I only had the bar and no weights added!

ME = Broke OFF!

Then this afternoon – still needing to get some mileage in since we are up-ing my overall weekly mileage – I headed to the gym for a treadmill run (needed to take it a little easy on my legs and we were in “black flag” conditions – so no outdoor PT allowed) – I ran 3.5 miles at an easy 10min pace. I really started to feel my quads getting tight at the very end of the run so I made sure and iced my legs when I got home! My longest run to date is still 9 miles – but I love that Jeanne gets me to reach a new distance and then we hang with that mileage and build a strong base there – so by the time I am adding even more distance to my longest run my legs are very ready for it! This has really been the key to keeping my legs injury free and my mental state where it needs to be as well! When you feel string and confident it shows in the LSR’s!

Nutritional Tidbits:

Hybrid Mini-Meatloaf

These came out so yummy tasty!

I have been trying to find ways to send my husband off to work with some Paleo approved foods and easy to eat, carry with, and reheat foods – so I had to get creative. Since my husband bikes to work her carries his lunch in a backpack that I am sure gets jostled all over the place. Enter the mini-meatloaf! I took the Everyday Paleo meatloaf recipe and my mother’s meatloaf and came up with a hybrid version that we ALL (including the monkey) really dig! This is not Paleo because I have added a few things – so anyone who is hardcore Paleo please skip over this recipe! ;o)

Ingredients:

2lbs Ground Meat (whatever you prefer)

½ tsp white pepper

1 pkg Dry Onion Soup mix

2 Eggs

½ tsp Marjaram

½ C. water

1 C. Almond Meal

1 tsp Basil

1 can Cream O’ Mushroom Soup

Sauce: Mix together ½ onion soup package w/ cream o’ mushroom soup, add water, pepper, marjoram, and basil – stir well, set aside.

Meat: Mix beef, eggs, almond meal and other half of onion soup mix together – blend well. Add large serving spoon scoop of sauce mixture to meat mixture – bland well. Add meat mix to mini loaf pan – these don’t expand much when they cook so you can really fill your more than mine – this was the first batch and I wasn’t sure – they can be pretty full but leave room for your sauce mix. Top with sauce mix. Bake in the oven (uncovered) at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Another snack we have all come to love is a recipe I took from Robb Wolf’s book and sort of tweaked it a bit as well but it is all Paleo still! I just have to work with what fruit is fresh here.

Cinnamon Fruit

The picture does this sweet treat no justice!

1 Orange – peeled, sectioned and chopped 1 Apple – peeled and sliced or diced 1 tsp cinnamon Mix all of the ingredients into a Tupperware container – toss to coat – put it in the fridge and it gets better and better the longer it all soaks!

Tuna Cabbage Salad

This is such a great snack or lunch!

This is by far my very newest and favorite creation. Again, I took the idea from Robb Wolf’s book about a crunchy cabbage salad and just made it my own!

Ingredients:

¼ head of cabbage

1 can albacore tuna – drained and fixed however you like (I added mayo sometimes or just Olive Oil)

1 whole carrot or 3-4 baby carrots

Sesame seed oil or poppy seed dressing

I like to start with the cabbage and toss it into my food processor with the top blade on shred. Then I add the carrot to the same blade – looks like coleslaw! Then I put it into the bowl I intend to eat it out of and add the tuna mix – stir well. Then I add in my sesame seed oil or sometimes I do a poppy seed dressing.

I devour this as a post workout lunch and I ALWAYS eat this with Plantain Chips! It’s truly not the same without it! You can really make this dish your own – add nuts or other veggies and make it a meal instead of a snack!

Miles ran so far this week = 5.25

Miles Ran TYD = 225.19

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

Finding My Pace


More times than not I find myself comparing and contrasting myself to other females/mothers/athletes, etc. I know that this is not an affliction I am alone with – we all do it! However, it has brought me back to the general appreciation for just how different we all are.

I make time for school and for fitness to be part of my daily routine and overall path to a better life – or I guess a healthier more knowledge filled one would be a better way to say it. I look around me at some of my neighbors and envy their flare for crafts and creative spin on living here in Okinawa. They make time to decorate these cement bunkers (aka housing units) into a real “homey” space. I think to myself, “Wow, I wish I had time for crafts.” The truth of the matter is…if it were important to me – I would MAKE the time for it. I would make the time to paint my walls soothing colors, to decorate the house and cultivate my flowerbeds into a botanical bliss instead of morn their emptiness. Clearly – it just isn’t that important to me or I would make the time.

It also works in reverse. Sometimes I talk with other women about my routine for fitting in school and running/training and they make comments similar to mine – “Wow, how do you find the time for all of that – I wish I had the time for working out.” And I have come to realize that if it were truly important for those people – they would make the time, they would make the choice and get active. I don’t live in a world where everything is black and white and I do completely understand that sometimes “something” has to give. Everyone makes their choices for what their “something” will be. For me – I don’t take the time to be all crafty and “Betty Homemaker”-ish but instead I get up at 4am to make time for fitness. Instead of spending time in the flowerbeds I spend time planning menu’s for the coming weeks paleo meals and snacks and then sift through the mess of coupons from the commissary. Instead of clocking in at a job I clock-in at my “study room” no later than 9am and get my brain swell on until 3:30pm when it is time to leave for picking up Nola!

Anyhow – what I am trying to say is that in life – we all have to set the pace for what we make time for and what is important for us. No peaking over at someone else’s task list or life “to-do’s” – worry about yourself, your family and your household and know that in the end the happiness that resides inside you and your home is the most important. Knowing that you have dedicated your time according to what drives you, what makes you most passionate is paramount in life! If there is something you really wish you were doing instead of what you do – make time for something new, even if it is only 30 min a day. Make the choice and the time will come!

Training TidBits:

This week is a Rest & Recovery week from the Group Fitness thrashing I do with Jeanne. Next week we will be back to our normal 3 days/week at 5am meet-up.

This passed weekend I had to run (Sat) 5 miles at a 9 min pace and (Sun) 4 miles at an 8:30min/mile pace. HOW DID IT GO?

Saturday: I drive over to Camp Foster and figured I would make this an easy run day and hit the treadmill and then do some Yoga. Well…I didn’t realize that the gym opens so late on weekends – so I ended up running around the base. I didn’t plan on running outside so I had NO iPod and NO GPS watch. I had to guess at my pace and at my distance. I did, however, have a stopwatch in my car (there is no clock in my car so I keep an old watch on the steering wheel).

I figured that if I maintained the 9min/mile pace that I needed I should only be running for 45min. So I started my watch and headed out. Since I am normally running at a (easy) 10min/mile pace I know what that effort feels like – so I knew I needed to be slightly faster than that. I made sure that if I felt like my running pace was too easy I needed to pick it up a little. After I made it to the end of the 45min I hoped in my car and drove the route I ran. BINGO! 4.97 miles in 45 min! WAHOO!

I was stoked about this! The whole point of this week (for me) is to learn pacing and what different paces “feel” like.

Totally satisfied and soak in sweat I headed in for the morning Yoga. 1 hr and 15 minutes later I was starving and headed home – to my surprise Shane had already made breakfast and saved me a plate of scrambled eggs w/ turkey sausage! YUM!

Sunday: Goal = maintain an 8:30min/mile pace for 4 miles. I talked Shane into running this w/ me. He pushed the stroller and helped maintain the up-tempo of the run. He is naturally so much faster than me and it makes him a great pacer! We headed out from the house and just went to the beach and back. The paved trail that runs along the beach here is flat and great for these sorts of runs.

Araha Beach Fitness Path

When we first started out I felt like I was just chasing after Shane the whole time – which makes me aggravated very quickly! I asked him what the pace was and he assured me we were spot on. It just FELT so FAST. I pumped my arms and just tried to stay focused and get my mind out of the “complaining” zone it was in.

Even though I felt like I was “racing” the whole time I was running – I was satisfied with the end result = being able to do it!

Here is my email to Jeanne:

Today Shane ran with me for the 4 miles at 8:30 pace. That was tough. I felt frustrated at how hard it was to maintain that pace until I got warmed up good. We jogged a slow 5 min. and then started our run. We stopped at the 2-mile mark and walked for about 3/10ths of a mile, and then stopped again at the 3-mile mark and walked a little. It was really tough to maintain that pace but it got easier as my body loosened up. I felt like I was racing the entire time. BUT I did it!! – even Shane was giving me props at how well I was maintaining that pace w. him.

 

And her response:

Hi Sarah!

Great job on maintaining the 9 min mile pace without your watch!  That is EXACTLY what I wanted you to do – to feel the pace and to be in synch with your body!!! You have now crossed another milestone! : )

Great job with the 8:30 – it was supposed to be challenging and it was supposed to take you out of your comfort zone!  Again, you did it!!! : )

Keep it up, Sarah – you are doing great!  I am so proud of you! Peace, Jeanne

As always – Jeanne is so supportive and motivating! I love having her here for me and with me on this journey!

Monday is my rest day.

Tuesday – 3 miles at an 8min/mile pace.

Since I didn’t have Shane to pace with and I was still feeling a bit sluggish – I decided to make today a treadmill day! Less impact on my joints PLUS I was nervous about being able to maintain this fast of a pace with my Nike+ watch being a terd for keeping an accurate instant pace.

Even on the treadmill this was super tough. I stopped at each mile and walked for about 3 minutes and then took off again. This was a 7.5 pace on the treadmill.

I noticed the same thing here though as with the 8:30 pace Shane and I did on the road. Each time I started again it felt slower and easier. The hard part is maintaining it for the whole distance. That will be my goal next time – no stopping!

Does anyone have any good tips about how to keep pushing through a fast pace?

Nutritional TibBits:

I have discovered some super yummy snacks for my cravings throughout the day and evening!

SNACKS:

Cucumber and Lemon:

So crisp and tart!

This is super easy and great for a salty fix! Just take one cucumber, peel and dice it however you like – place in a Tupperware container. Juice a whole lemon over the cucumber – cover and shake to coat w/ lemon juices. Place in fridge for about 15 min. Take out of the fridge and drain the juices (the acid in the lemon will make the cucumber soggy if you don’t). Serve chilled!

Plantain Chips!

Ingredients: Pantain, vegetable oil - that's it!

We found these at the commissary in the international food isle. These are very yummy and a great substitute for anything you would use a cracker or chips for. We ate these with guacamole. I ate these with my tuna. YUM! I looked up some info on them through google and found that plantains are considered the potato or pasta of the Caribbean and are used for a variety of things. So for all of you gluten free or Paleo people out there – I bet there are super creative ways to cook with these!

My new favorite snack!

Well, – I better get back to my studying! Until next time!

Miles Ran YTD: 170.65

Miles ran this week: 3

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