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

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

An Ultra Runner Revealed (GEAR-Part II)


Zazzle.com

Like most endeavors (or hobby) there are always accessories or “gear” that can make life easier! I have to admit that Shane has totally turned me into a gear junky! So, of course, part of my interview for Anna consisted of Gear “must haves” for going the distance and then some – and she graciously provided some insight! 

Ultra marathon Gear

by Anna Boom, with no paid sponsorship (yet!)

Gear is a tricky part of running ultra marathons. There are many options out there to buy with each one touting it is a must have.

Some many choices!

I use a CamelBak hydration pack. The model I like has a hip belt too, so I can store snacks for quick access. There are other models that do not have the hip belt, which requires you to stop, take off the pack and dig for your food. Some runners like having a forced rest stop, maybe at an aid station or for a moment of reflection.

Why did I choose CamelBak? It was what the Exchange had on hand. I did not do any research into what was the best, just went and bought what fit. The model I have also has three different strap areas for a snug fit, which is essential. If your pack is flopping all over, it will chafe you very painfully and very quickly. So strap it down tight.

Even with a snug fit, the skin on my waist was irritated after the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 100Km ultra. There is almost no way around the fact that your skin is going to suffer a bit from being hot, sweaty and have a pack rubbing against it for hours and hours.

Having a hydration pack has allowed me to drink a lot more water than I ever have before. During a normal marathon, I don’t worry about bringing food or water and rely on the abundant aid stations. On the ultra though, you are going so much further and farther than before, that you must be self reliant. Having your own pack allows you to be prepared for any situation: stomach upset, first aid, money for the cab back home.

Nathan Pack (1)

Nathan Pack (2)

The other gear I have seen and am interested in include the Nathan pack that crosses in the front and has pockets for water bottles. The Nathan water bladder however is awkward with a ziplock type of opening on top. Two of my friends run with the Nathan pack, but changed out the bladder for the CamelBak one, which has the nice wide mouth opening and twist-on top. I would like to try the AmphiPod handheld bottles too but haven’t taken the time to purchase them yet.

Amphipod

For shorter runs, less than 2 hours, I use a Nathan waist pack with a water bottle. Once you begin training for ultras, your perception of long runs changes dramatically. My training partners, Andrea and Jannine and I laugh at ourselves when we think, oh it is only a short run today-just two hours!

During the long training runs, there are again many options for calories: gels, drinks, bars. Clif Bloks, Luna and Snicker Marathon bars (dark chocolate only as the other flavors have too much sugar) all agree with me so I pack two or three. I also have ginger candy packed as that settles any nausea right away.

YUM!

An hour before all long runs, I eat a piece of whole grain toast with some butter, a handful of almonds and maybe a banana. Also, I’m a big fan of oatmeal. You have to find what works for your body though and it is only through trial and error. I have had many, many trials on trail. What works for me, may not work for you.

Mochi Balls

Some other foods out there: mochi (those rice cakes the Japanese eat), PB&J, pretzels with or without peanut butter inside, Clif bars, jelly beans. I do not follow any type of diet, except to eat as many whole foods as possible. I dislike the sugary gels, Power Bars but others enjoy them. After the IronMan Kona, I vowed never to eat another Clif bar or gel unless I was starving in the middle of the Sahara. Then I would consider it.

Whatever you try, remember that the body can only process around 200-250 calories per hour roughly. If you are pounding the calories with sugary replacement drinks and gels and bars, your stomach will be distressed and sloshing. Another tip I have read over and over is to not combine gels with anything but water. And, do not try anything new on race day but this goes for everything from food to gear. Stick with what you trained with and don’t save something new for race day. It would be horrible to have spent all the hours and energy training for a big ultra only to end it halfway through due to an upset stomach or blisters from new socks. Try, try, try everything and put it to the test before you take it out on race day.

An Ultra Runner Revealed (Part 1)


Less than a year ago I didn’t even know what Ultra Running was – or that people did such a thing for fun! Throughout the last year I have been diving deeper and deeper into running – I want to read about it, learn it, and live it! BUT there was a gap in the information I was finding…I quickly noticed that MOST information available about “Women’s” running was all written by MEN. So, I hopped on Amazon and searched for anything and everything on running for women by women…this is how I learned about ultra-running as a sport. I read Rachel Toor’s book, Personal Record, and was amazed that someone could make running 100’s of miles sound…dare I say…FUN!
 
I was hooked on learning more about this sport – but unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot out there written by women for women on the topic. A few months ago I discovered that there is a treasure trove of ultra running information and even MENTORING right at my fingertips. Right here in Okinawa are some amazing women ultra runners, athletes, mother-runners, triathletes – you name it and they have done it – all members of a running group called WOOT!
 
In this blog I would like to introduce to you Anna Boom (one of the founders of WOOT). An amazing woman, wife, mother of two beautiful girls and an ultra-runner!
 
I think there is some sort of veil of mystique about ultra-runners and the act of ultra-running…I hope this can help pull back the curtain a bit!
 
Take it away Anna!

Hi. I have been athletic most of my life, which stemmed from parents who both jogged and ate healthy foods. Having that as my role model, kept me moving too, even though I didn’t realize it until I was much older. This is one of the top reasons I love seeing other moms get out there and kick it. The positive influence you are having on your child’s life may not be apparent at this moment, just like in any important lessons in life, but it will be there, in your child’s mind forever.

I was not always a runner, but I have played a variety of sports throughout my younger years. In high school, I played varsity tennis and received scholarships to play in college. At that time, it seemed agonizing to go out and run even a mile.

One day, while still in college at Hawaii, I decided to go and run. I was running away, honestly, from everything for just a bit: boyfriends, homework, upcoming graduation, the future. I climbed to the top of a hill and looked at the beauty around me: the sky was crystal clear blue and wide open, the ocean was never ending and every plant around me was green and in bloom. Perhaps it was my first runner’s high? I was hooked although I had to walk part of the way back home.

After moving to Okinawa in my mid 20s, I began to focus only on running. I still played a lot of tennis but loved the solitude that long runs provided. I remember my first hour long run; I was so proud of myself.

Since then, I have run many marathons, all over the Ryukyu Islands. My first marathon was the Iheya Moonlight Marathon. I had flown in from Quantico the night before the race, took the ferry over in the morning and started running at 6 pm. The first half was incredible; I passed people left and right. Then, around mile 20 (this is going to sound very familiar to any marathon runner) I started to fall apart: I needed the bathroom and couldn’t find one, I was tired, aching and dehydrated, my mind had let go of finishing the race. But, I kept going, and finished, and even placed in my age group. At the post race party, I celebrated along with all the runners for a beautiful course, helpful volunteers and on a job well done. And let me tell you, Japanese athletes know how to celebrate a job well done!

After getting a few more marathons under my belt, Naha, Okinawa City, Yoron, I picked up triathlons. I was already biking to work because I couldn’t afford a car so I thought, why not?

My first triathlon was an Olympic distance at Torii. I was so far behind on the swim, the paddlers were yelling at me to swim straight, and I ended up one of the last out of the water and crying. Oh yes. Defeat was right there in front of me, but I stripped off my wetsuit, transitioned to my mountain bike and rode. Then I got to the run and ran my heart out and had a great day.

Since then, I went on to complete the Miyako Strongman and IronMan multiple times. I was lucky enough to participate in the 25th anniversary of IronMan Kona. It was a once in a lifetime achievement for me.

After Kona, I gave up triathlon racing. It came down to time management. I am married to an ultra supportive guy (this is a must-have for any ultra running woman), we were planning on starting our family and I was working full time. I did not want to spend all my time riding and swimming anymore and did not miss doing those things at all. But running, well that I missed more than anything. So what to do? Pick up ultra running of course!

During both pregnancies, I ran throughout all the way up to delivery. A week post delivery, I had the babies strapped into their car seats, which were strapped into the jog stroller. Both girls have spent many hours watching the world whiz by while mommy happily pushed them along.

After the birth of our second daughter, I returned to running with a passion and decided to try an ultra marathon. An ultra is anything beyond the official 42.2KM marathon distance. You will find all kinds of distances, terrains and places that host ultras. Here in Okinawa, Miyakojima has a 50/100Km road ultra every January.

At that point in our lives, the logistics of packing up two little baby girls and traveling to race all day was unrealistic so my friend and I decided we would set up our own ultra, running from Kadena Gate 1 to Okuma. We woke up every Saturday and Sunday around 3:30 or 4:00AM to go out and run the flight line of Kadena, around and around. On race day, we started running at midnight and made it to Okuma around 10:30 in the morning. My husband set up a kiddie pool filled with ice and handed us an ice cold Guinness. Our families were there to celebrate our crazy running lives. And after taking a long nap with my daughters, I felt happy and satisfied with myself and on completing my first ultra.

Although it felt like a great accomplishment, the pain of running that far on pavement almost ended my ultra running. It hurt. A lot. I started looking into running trails more and more. I had learned of a few trails back in my mountain biking days so I invited a few friends to join me for a recon run. One of my best friendships soon developed as Jannine and I clicked running on trails and on road.

The feeling of running on trail is freedom. It takes me back to a time when I was a kid, just going wild. I don’t wear a watch, or GPS device or heart rate monitor on trail. I go and run, rain, shine or wind. It is incredible to be able to feel that in my life filled with answering smart phones and driving cars and folding laundry.

I started wondering if there were other women around besides Jannine and me who would want to come out and run on trail. Over coffee, we decided to give it go. I put an ad in the local paper and on OkinawaHai.com. We had about 6 email replies and one great suggestion of starting a FaceBook group. That is how WOOT, Women on Okinawa Trail began a little over a year ago. We are at 220 members as of today, and that makes me so happy. Every Saturday morning we meet to run; a fabulous group of women of all speeds, capabilities and stages in life. My best friendships have developed from our group.

One of our core members, Kathleen, posted on the WOOT wall to see if there was interest in running 100Km trail race in Mongolia with her. Craziness, right?! I waited for the right moment to ask my husband if I could go, knowing that he would have to take care of the two girls alone, while I was out running some distance, somewhere in the world.

For my ultra training, I consistently ran in the rain throughout the months of April, May and June. Every Saturday and Sunday early morning, I logged many waterlogged, lonely hours and miles. At the heaviest point in training, my schedule had back to back 4-5 hour runs.

In July, a group of seven women traveled together to Mongolia and ran the Sunrise to Sunset trail marathon and 100Km. Starting the race, I had no expectation except to finish. It was the longest I had ever raced and on a terrain like nothing I had seen before. Absolutely stunning! After 14 hours and 100 kilometers, I came in first woman, fifth overall. And happy and wanting more.

After we returned home to Okinawa, we began to plan our next ultra racing trip together to New Zealand. Our friend, Jannine is a Kiwi and found a stunning 60/85/100Km trail race, the Tarawera Ultra, a few hours south of Auckland. We all signed up and starting training together for our March race. Five of us ran hour after hour on the gravel farm roads and trails of Yomitan in preparation. We each had our iThings loaded with playlists and audio books for the times we ran alone. Two of our girlfriends were even traveled from Alaska and Illinois to meet us. They trained throughout the winter months in preparation.

The Tarawera ultra was the most difficult race I have run. The terrain was mentally tough and physically tiring as it was full of rocks and roots and climbed high into the bush. I rolled my ankle around the 25Km point and had to drop at the first finish, the 60Km, even though I trained to run the 100Km and had hoped to use it as a Western States 100 qualifier. Hobbling along, I cried and said goodbye to that dream for the moment. Like anything that defeats you, I learned much. In order to compete, I must run many hills on trail and run them hard.

My next race is Sept 17, 2011 in Fairbanks AK. The Equinox 50KM, WOOT!

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

Birthday Milestones


The end of week 12

2011 is already shaping up to be a great year! This is the first time I have ever set out to accomplish concrete goals – and the first time I have ever tracked my progress in such a public way. I tell ya what though – it keeps you honest!

I’ll be 29 years old soon and I can hardly believe how fast the time does fly. My dad once told me that the older you get the faster time goes – I’m totally beginning to see the truth in that statement. I swear I was just graduating high school the other day…now I’m married w/ a baby, a mortgage and am almost ready to graduate college!

Well, here’s to life goals, being active and staying frisky! I hear that for females the sexual prime is in their 30’s! I say – C’mon thirties show me whatchya got! I also have caught on to the trend of female runners (and atheletes) getting better and faster with age and this is certainly an encouraging trend. I also see it in my neighbor Kelly, I will not divulge her age – but she is a hard one to catch on the road and on the trail. With two sons in their mid and late teens, a full time photography business, always taking classes on base, never missing either of her sons many sporting events, baking, and participating in neighborhood groups (she was in the quilt group) – we all wonder where she gets her energy from – I think the secret must be a healthy appetite for life! She is always smiling, rarely in a bad mood and never outwardly negative!

When I first started really getting into this Living Runner’s World challenge I searched hard for books written about running by women. I was disappointed to find that there aren’t many. At first I found that the older books on the topic of women’s running were written by MEN – give me a break! I am happy to report that the list is getting longer for female athlete’s who are spreading their “writing” wings and sharing their pool of experience and information with others. Also, I am finding lots and lots of blogs by women like myself – but their list of running achievements are much longer than mine and they usually have multiple kids in tow. I am always so amazed at how ambitious and head strong so many women are for maintaining their active lifestyle while balancing family and work (whatever form their work may be). Here’s to inspirational blogs and books! A little link list of books and blogs – please check them all out:

Run Like a Mother (book and blog) (I can’t get enough of these ladies!)

Amy Stewart’s Blog (ultra runner and WOOT lady!)

RunFasterMommy (Heather is such a cool chick! I love to read her blog too)

Chubby Mommy Running Club (This lady cracks me up – follow her website and blog)

Personal Record (Rachel Toor’s book about ultra running – I never thought ultra running could sound like so much fun!)

Athlete’s Palette (great cookbook from Running Chef’s – must have)

RW Guide to Road Racing (great starter book for road races – has a list of famous road races around the world in the back)

Sole Sisters (great inspirational book about women runners – I passed this on)

Fab & Fit (website. Athletic clothing for Women – love their styles)

Complete Running.com (a runners blogger network)

Blog Rank (top 50 running blogs on the net – I love finding new people)

CoolRunning.com (this is a great resource for EVERYTHING running)

When one thing ends another begins!

April so far has been very productive for me! I completed my Sociology final on Saturday (whew – took me a little over 2 hours), went on my first trail run with the WOOT group (that morning @ 6:30am before my exam – I’m crazy, I know!), cutting out sugary snacks (and hoping for no psychotic outbursts) and am gearing up for my husbands return from Afghanistan. It seems like lots of women go through a “nesting” phase in anticipation of their spouse coming home but I am not really feeling that. When I came home from a 3-month stay in the states with family (over the holidays) I sort of went a little crazy. I deep cleaned, organized closets, rearranged furniture, and reorganized the pantry! So there is really nothing for me to do now but wait! Oh yeah – and get as fit as I can before our eyes meet again! I still need to make my sign for when we go pick him up and a sign for the house but other than that I’m just focusing on training and school – not the calendar! Even though I just completed Spring Session One…Spring Session II starts Monday – so no rest for me on the academic side of life. It’s good though – I sort of get a little antsy when there’s no reason to stay in “hustle” mode. I know sometimes I complain about being busy but this is actually how I function – better when scattered!

Training Updates:

Thursday was very focused. We hit Strength Training pretty hard w/ variations on upper body, core and lower body. I did an 800-meter run as part of the warm up. Then we did low weights with high reps. I’m really starting to see definition in my shoulders and biceps! Yay!

Saturday – Suppose to be my Long slow run day but Kelly and I decided to hit the trails w/ WOOT (Women on Okinawa Trails – all female trail running group). This was extremely challenging. We ran from the parking lot of the meet-up spot down Rt 58 and turned off the road and into the woods.

There were lots of HILLZA!

Immediately the trail gets narrow – like one foot in front of the other narrow, then turns into lots of hills that are all rutted out from rain water rushing down them. Parts of the trail get a little tricky with sharp drop offs on one side. My mind was racing a million miles a minute to try and soak everything in. Watching the trail in front of me, watching the runner in front of me, watching tree branches over head – there was a lot of “Oh shit” going on inside my head! I made it 5 miles total and was really japed of my energy afterwards. My ankles were feeling weak at the end and I called it quits even though my running partner (Kelly) was still raring to go! I love that about her! I admitted that I usually don’t know when to say “enough” but this time I really knew I should. I don’t want an injury from doing something “fun” to sideline me from my bigger goal – the marathon! I will definitely return to the trails but it won’t be a regular thing for now. Those 3 weeks of waiting out and nursing an injury really put training into perspective. While I can and DO push my body – I prefer for it to be on the pavement for now.

There were dangers signs and caution tape all around this part!

Beautiful views from the trail!

I

Upcoming Events:

May 8th – Schwab Function Fitness 3.5K (not sure if I’m doing this)

May 22nd – Futenma 10K Habu Fun Run

October 2nd – Schwab Functional Fitness 3.5K (not sure)

October 23rd – Kinser Half Marathon

December 4th (not sure about the date) – Naha Marathon!

I’m seriously considering to the Hawaii marathon as my first but just not sure if Space-A would work out and/or if my husband would have the time off of work to go with me. It’s the only way it would workout, someone would have to watch Nola and I would definitely want someone there to cheer for me! Traveling alone and running alone would really suck! BUT I hear it is a great first timers course and the weather in Hawaii is always lovely – especially in December.

Miles ran this week = 10

Year-to-Date = 108.05

The Squeaky Wheel gets the Grease!


Week 10 of my RW Challenge! So exciting!

Living in Okinawa Japan definitely has its pros and cons.

My number one CON to being here is the postal system. The FPO (Foreign Post Office) is seriously like the black hole of delivery. I have had textbooks for school take 3 months to get here…and well, the semester was already over. Before I started this RW challenge I subscribed to the RW Magazine. I anxiously awaited my January copy and by the middle of the month I just gave up and went to the Shoppette to buy a copy. Then, January 26th there it was, my copy of RW in my mailbox. Same thing for February – and actually the March issues were already on the newsstands before my February copy came. I decided to send complaint emails to RW via their “contact me” tab on the website and a complaint on their FB wall. I got a customer service reply from them, “Sorry for the inconvenience we’ll mail out a copy to you, it should be there in 3-4 weeks.

This is how I feel when dealing with the FPO system!

How was this supposed to help? So I emailed them back complaining some more. Guess what? The squeaky wheel really did get some grease! Monday when I checked my mail (March14th) there was my APRIL 2011 RW Magazine! I could hardly believe it!

At the post office I was told that once mail enters into the FPO system from the USPS system there is no guarantee as to how long something can take to reach its final destination. So I was convinced that even though I was complaining to RW they really might not be able to do anything about my particular problem b/c of our location. But alas I stand corrected!

Another treat was in my box for me today! My new Asics trailing running shoes! WOOT here I come! Wahoo! I have lined up two teen girls who have agreed to occasionally babysit for me at 6:30am on Saturday mornings when I go for a run with the local women’s trail running group called WOOT (Women On Okinawa Trails).  I had met up with this group for some Cocok’s Toes pampering as a meet and greet and to pick their brains about any “gear” I might need. Plus, I just wanted someone to give me permission to feed my gear junkie side! One of the women I asked said that she just runs in old running shoes, others said that they bought trail shoes – no clear cut answers. I decided to just do my homework and read some reviews on the differences between the two types of shoes – Road vs trail.

Turns out, trial running shoes don’t just keep your feet a little less wet they also really do offer protection and way better traction. Trail shoes are designed with thin metal plates strategically placed to prevent sharp rocks, broken sticks, you name it – from jabbing into your foot and causing injury. I chose Asics simply because that is what I have been running in for years now and know I like them and know my size – so ordering online works. The trail shoe I chose is the 2009 model, Asics Gel Trail Attack 6 – click here for a video review.

I was fitted at a professional running store in Fredericksburg, VA and have just continued to order the same shoe ever since. If you have never been professionally fitted for a shoe, I highly recommend it. Before I had this done I was constantly getting shin splints and all sort of weird aches and pains. I had no idea what pronation even meant nor did I have any clue how it related to the type of shoes I should wear. There are some shoe fitting expos taking place this month and next month. MizunoShoeFitting – click on the link for the details.

Training updates – TODAY: I did a running interval. Warm-up: Active stretch, 25 Jumping Jacks, 15 curb step-ups each side (last week my hip flexors were tweaked so we are focusing on really warming them up!).

Work-out: 25 Jumping Jacks, 25 sit-ups, 10 pushups – Run 1 mile – repeat 3X.

I had planned to do this outside of the gym today while having Nola in the COOP but today’s volunteer was a NO SHOW. Hardly ever happens but man is it frustrating. Once we returned home it started to rain so I decided to wait until afternoon. When we were running our errands it was still sprinkling out so I decided to just make this a treadmill exercise. At the beginning I thought, maybe I’ll do 4 rounds or more…this doesn’t sound so hard! YEAH RIGHT! This was a challenging workout and by the end I was drenched in sweat and in no mood to go longer than Jeanne had instructed!

Wednesday – Run 3.5 miles nice and easy + Yoga @ 9am

Thursday –  We’re hitting it hard w/ Hills or Speed – Jeanne’s gonna let me know when I get there! Eeek!

Friday: I have a follow up Fitness Assesment. I had one of these done about a year after I had Nola, then again the week I started training with Jeanne, now this one is going to be a Re-Assesment after 9 weeks of training w. a coach. I am very excited to see (on paper) what my gains truly have been! I recommend this to everyone – they are free w/ any fitness coordinator. They do measurements, strength, BMI and some card testing and then give you an overall fitness score. It was REALLY cool to see the difference between last year and this years score! I’ll post all of my results after my meeting on Friday.

QUICK NOTE:

Nola is Daddy's Cammies!

This deployment is almost over! Our Return and Reunion brief is scheduled for March 22nd and I am getting very excited to hear what they have to say. My husband already told me not expect any solid dates of return – but this is exciting b/c it’s a milestone. This means the end is in sight. I have missed my husband so much – I have tried to keep all of these emotions at arms length for the most part and certainly haven’t let them be a part of this blog too frequently. I really appreciate everyone’s support through this deployment. Having our little girl grow up (a little dramatic but that’s what it feels like) in front of me and not being able to share that w/ my husband has been really tough. He was SO eager to be a father and it seemed like no sooner than we got the hang of this parenting thing – he was gone. He started leaving for 3 months at a time when she was only 3 months old. Now she is 15 months and counting. She has learned how to walk, talk and has a mouth full of teeth not to mention a large personality! We are both so eager to have him safely with us – day and night! My feet are so cold in the big bed!

Such a Daddy's girl. These were the last photos we had taken as a family before he deployed in September 2010.

Miles ran this week = 3.48

Year-to-date = 75.84

Stadiums are for Spectators


“Stadium are for spectators. We runners have Nature, and that is much better.” –Juha Vaatainen (Finnish 5000 and 10,000 meter star from the 1970s)

I’m not sure how many of you who read my page are actually in OKI but you might be interested to know that there is a trail running group of women here called “WOOT.” This stands for Women On Okinawa Trails. I have yet to do a trail run but more and more people I am meeting have been and say it is sooo much fun! SO the group has organized a “Pedicure Day” at Cocok’s this Saturday and I have signed up to go! I am very excited to meet these adventure-seeking ladies and pepper them with questions! The only thing that has really held me back from going was my nervousness of trying something new all by myself. So I figure this is a great way to get to know some of them first and then ease on into a Saturday morning run! Check them out on FaceBook!

Winter is almost over…and in Okinawa that only means one thing…the HEAT is coming! Even though it doesn’t really start getting really hot here until June it’s really the humidity that gets to you. That is something that comes and goes during spring but it has already started. By June it will be black flag PT conditions by 7am and that is when people are highly discouraged from physical activity outside.

For now though I will enjoy my mid morning runs while I can!

Training Updates:

This week has been extremely motivating and productive for me! I am getting my legs back in runner condition and am very excited. I am nervous though about getting back into speed and hill training too soon so I asked Jeanne if we could just do strength training and interval running for a few weeks to build my legs back up and then hit it hard again. She seems okay with this but warned that we don’t want to stray away from the hard work for too long… and I want a rematch with that menacing plaza hill!

Tuesday’s workout:

400 meter repeats remix. This was a tough but steady workout. I had to run 400meters at a 10min/mile pace then do 5 pushups, 10 sit-ups, 15 squats, and 20 jumping jacks then immediately take off for the next round – run 400m and 5, 10, 15, 20 again – I think we made it through 5 or 6 rounds. I lost count. Jeanne tracked my time as far as consistency was concerned and told me I did a good job of being able to maintain the running pace throughout. Needless to say I was really worn out after!!!

Wednesday was a rest day since I had been gaining mileage steadily since Saturday.

Thursday (today):

Jeanne took it easy on me today since I have a Functional Fitness 5K Saturday that I am hoping to be competitive in. Today I did a 800m run at a 10min/mile pace for a warm-up and then a progression of pushups, sit-ups, and squats for the main workout. The pushups really broke me off and really the whole workout did. By this afternoon my eyes were burning and heavy…I really could have used a nap!

Tomorrow: I will be running 2 miles at an easy pace – gotta save myself for Saturday’s race on Kinser. I’m really excited about this for several reasons but one important one is that my neighbor and friend, Liz (and her daughter), will be accompanying me! She will watch Nola and hopefully get some photos of my killing myself! I’m so glad that I don’t have to go alone. Competing alone is fine but driving all the way there and then having no one to cheer for you is a real buzz kill sometimes!

Upcoming Races:

“Lord of the Tengan” @ Camp Courtney, March 27th – 5K/10K Fun Run

Gunner’s Gym Fun Run 5K held April 2nd

T-shirts are provided for both.

I’m hoping to be able to be competitive in the 10K in late March but Jeanne is thinking this might have to be more of a training run and less of a “push hard – competitive run” for me. Darn that injury and getting sick setback (fists shacking in the air!)

Miles ran so far this week = 5.6