Weekly Recap 10/19-10/25

I felt pretty good this week. I had some issues getting into the run on Tuesday so I stuck it out for a solid three songs and then skipped over to the bike. When I use the bike to cross-train, I try to keep it from being too easy by making sure I have lots of resistance and try to keep up a cadence of at leas 90. My pace was a little slower this one because I was doing some hills.

I’ve also been slacking a bit on my lifting. I resolved to rededicate time to it since it makes me stronger all around. I did a heavy legs workout on Thursday and followed it with a run, which definitely makes my pace slower but for lifts that use a combination of muscles, like deadlifts and squats, I want to do those first when I am still fresh and so I can make sure my form is solid.

I avoid bench presses and pull-ups and I know I need to work on them. I avoid them because I’m bad at them, and I’m bad at them because I avoid them.

I did my first “Magic Mile” as specified by the Galloway plan today. It was a little weird because I did it on a treadmill. I averaged a 7 minute mile for it, but I know I could do better since I had to manipulate the speeds by hand. Still, it was good to have some sort of baseline so I know where I stand and can tentatively predict my race times. I’m looking forward to improving on it in the next few weeks, too.

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This is pretty much how I’m feeling most days about training. I try to keep in mind that it’s only two more months (and four races, not including Castaway Cay). On the one hand, it does help motivate me to go to the gym and it makes my run streak easier since I feel like there’s a point, but there are some days where it is just such a hassle.

Like yesterday, I didn’t have time to get a five-mile workout in because we had some serious network issues that required everyone’s attention. I had to be satisfied with one mile and move my five-mile workout to today.

I just have to keep finding those smaller goals along the way. Virtual races help a lot, and so do other things, but that’s probably for another entry.

Off-Season Planning

Being deployed has really shown me how important smaller goals are in breaking up the long slog and helping the time pass. I’ve gotten to a point where I just focus on the present and the next small milestone, kind of like a long run.

Every year with the cooler weather I find myself staying indoors more and doing more cross-training and always, planning for the upcoming year. Now that it’s getting cooler here in Afghanistan, I’ve been thinking more about what races I want to sign up for next year. I deferred the Marine Corps Marathon this year so I will probably run it this coming year.

Since the Disney races are pretty expensive and the MCM involves a plane ticket and hotel, I will probably try to keep my other races closer to home. That being said, Alaska is the biggest state in the US so “close to home” can still be anywhere from 8-14 hours away and still in the same state. I am still considering another destination race, though.

Some also depends on when I get home since traveling can take a while and I have to go through a brief re-integration period on the backside and that may mean I miss some races in the area I’d like to do.

So far my tentative schedule looks like:

January 6-10 – Disney World 5K, 10K, Half and Full

January 12 (?) – Castaway Cay 5K

February 25 – Town of Celebration Virtual Marathon

June 18 – Either Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon or Midnight Sun Run

August – Santa Claus Half Marathon

August 21- Moose’s Tooth Marathon

September 17 – Either Equinox Marathon or Ultra. I want to do the ultra, but it depends on where I am with training at that point.

October 30  – Marine Corps Marathon

If I had unlimited funds and could get the time off from work, I’d love to run the new Disneyland Paris Half Marathon this next year. I love Disney races and I think it’s going to be so pretty and fun to run. As expensive as Disney races are, and this would be combined with a flight to Europe, I would absolutely love to do this. Maybe as an end-of-deployment gift to myself?

Weekly Recap 10/12-10/18

My overall mileage was good this week, but I still missed some distances because I was traveling and didn’t have the ability to go for a long run. I also didn’t expect to be traveling overnight and really wished I had packed more than just a travel blanket and an inflatable pillow – like maybe some earplugs and extra socks and underwear. Where I was for the night was right next to a huge runway so all night I’d be woken up suddenly by the sounds of enormous jets taking off and landing. One was so large that I swore it was the sound of the earth cracking apart.


Needless to say the next morning I was in dire need of coffee and looking a little haggard. Luckily it worked out and I got a flight back and the crew chief let me sit in his seat so I could hang out the window and take awesome pictures and videos the whole way back.

A fairly built-up village in a rural area

More rural

The outskirts of a major city

Anyway, I still got in some decent mileage this week. My 10-mile long run was a shadow of the Valor Run in dedication of all the female service members who have given their lives in service. I had to do it a day early but I think it worked out since I did 10 miles on 10/16 and there’s 160 service members I ran it for.

I was really hoping to make it home same day as my trip, but my meeting was later in the day and there were no more flights that night. On the plus side, I got to watch the new Conan the Barbarian movie in the USO, drink more coffee, see the end of Ratatouille while in the DFAC, confirm that the food at my base is wayyyy better than theirs (cottage cheese and no fruit to put on it? what?), and picked up a free copy of The Joy Luck Club.

Five Things for Friday – Five Favorite Websites

I’ve been a huge Internet fan ever since I was young. I loved all the information that was out there, just waiting to be read. I loved that I could look anything up and get an answer (I used to love reading the encyclopedia).

These are a few of the sites I visit on a daily basis.

1. Facebook

It’s easy to keep in touch with lots of people, I can see pictures of my friends and family, and since my husband is traveling, it’s also the way we communicate most often because I can’t have any personal electronic devices in my workspace where I am 12+ hours a day. Some people dislike Facebook for many reasons, but for me it does more good than harm.

2. Instagram

I really like pictures and I like following a wide variety of people. I’ve been trying to follow more healthy people, so lifters and runners and yogis because surrounding myself with healthy, active people makes me want to be better. If you want to follow me, my Instagram name is crkellr.

3. Reddit

It’s the front page of the Internet! I spend a lot of time here for news, running-related forums, finance forums, and sometimes just cute cat videos.

4. Magoosh

I’m studying for the GMAT next summer. I try to spend a little time here every day either going through lessons, working on flashcards, or working through some questions. I could probably spend more time here, but I have a much longer timeline than most people do and I don’t want to get burned out. Fortunately, Magoosh’s subscription is valid for a year so I have plenty of time.

5. Washington Post

I’ve liked the Post ever since I lived in Northern Virginia. I like its mix of articles and recently have been enjoying reading about how others decorate and live in tiny apartments. My duplex back home is only 768 square feet, so it fits the tiny apartment category for sure. I also appreciate that they do live feeds of important press conferences. Last night I watched live as President Obama announced we were keeping 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through the next year.

I bet you thought there’d be more fitness sites on here? I visit a lot, but these five sites I’m guaranteed to visit every day whiles I can go a few days between my other favorite sites like The Daily Mile and various blogs.

Weekly Recap 10/4-10/10

This is a shorter recap since I included last Sunday in the last recap.

I was so glad it was a step-back week. I’ve been so tired all week and some days just getting the mileage in required me to dig deep. On the 8th, I had to take a running break and switch to the elliptical for a little while. I hate the elliptical. I just feel like it’s a useless machine for me. My legs and feet don’t want to work in a mechanically-prescribed way with no adjustment.

I slept for almost 12 hours Thursday night into Friday morning. If my suite mate had been quieter in the bathroom, I don’t know how much longer I might have slept.

As tired as I have been, I’ve been happy that my paces haven’t suffered too much.

I am ridiculously sore this morning from yesterday’s killer session with all the deadlifts and pull-ups. My legs feel fine, it’s mainly my lower back that is really stiff, followed by my upper back. I was lifting my normal weight, 135 lbs, but I don’t usually do 60 reps so I wasn’t surprised by how sore I was. In three months I’ll be done with Dopey and I’m sure my legs will be sore then.

Miles of Clouded Hell

Last night I put off running until the very end of the day and then while running I was also trying to fiddle with my phone and somehow ripped out the emergency stop cord so my run ended abruptly and I lost my overall time and distance. It was enough to completely sour my mood.

I wasn’t quite over being sour this morning when I woke up early for our PT session in memory of 1SG McKenna. The workout looked crazy hard, it was early and I wanted to be sleeping. I hung back at first, but then I forced myself to start.

The workout was 30 minutes, as many rounds as possible. One round was five pull-ups, 10 deadlifts, 15 medicine ball slams, and an approximately 400 meter run on gravel. I got five rounds in and was almost through my 6th when the time ended. (Had I not hung back, I might have gotten six rounds in).

I was feeling strong and my hesitation and moodiness gone so I decided to finish it out with an easy three miles.


Sometimes it just takes getting over yourself to get a workout in. I am so fortunate to have a working body. I am fortunate that I get to spend time working out during the day. 1SG McKenna was by every account, a beast in human form. The night our camp was attacked, he ran towards the sound of gunfire and he saved many, many peoples’ lives with no regard for his own. I am so humbled to wear the same uniform as him and I hope I honored his memory today.

As I was finishing up my run, Imagine Dragons’s song “It’s Time” came on. I’ve always loved the line “The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell/right to the top/don’t look back.” It seemed more appropriate than ever today. RIP Top.

In a Funk Friday

I’ve been in a bit of a funk this past week. Instead of feeling peppy in the afternoons when I usually work out, I’ve felt tired and sleepy. I’ve also felt sleepy in the mornings and evenings, too. I have been staying up a little late reading at night, but not enough to make me tired all day. No matter how much coffee or water I drink I can’t seem to shake my tiredness.  Last night I even slept for 11 hours

Part of this I think is because I’m deep into my Dopey training. This week is a step-back week, thankfully, so I have minimal mileage to get in, but it makes me nervous for next week’s mileage.

I’ve been using a few “tricks” to keep myself going.

  1. Something is better than nothing – any workout is better than no workout.
  2. Mix it up – okay, this may come back to haunt me on race day when I hit the wall because of too much cross-training, but in line with Reason #1, anything is better than nothing. So if I have miles to get in and I can’t handle the treadmill anymore, I’ll switch to the elliptical for a bit and then go back. The different movements keep me engaged.
  3. Split it up – I can’t spend several hours running in one stretch because of my work schedule. I have no choice but to break it up, unless I want to get up super early to try to get it in and believe me, I’ve tried waking up early and it just doesn’t work for me out here. I will go back to sleep every time. But by breaking my workouts into smaller, bite-sized chunks, I am much more likely to succeed.

I’ve got three months until Dopey. It seems so far away right now but I know it’ll be here before I know it. I’m going to keep chugging along with my training plan and try to stay motivated. And maybe try to find some sort of energy drink or pre workout to jump-start my body.

Weekly Recap 9/27-10/4 + A Few Miles for my Coach

I had a pretty good week of training this week. I’ve been having some gut issues on my longer runs but I think that’s mostly because I’ve been experimenting with when and what I eat before I run and how far in advance I eat. Some things are out of my control since I can’t cook out here, but I think I’ve realized that my supplements need to either be well before I work out or after, not right before or during.

I’m also using cycling to help supplement my running. It’s a nice change of pace. I may pay for it later during the races, but I think my goal is really just to finish and to do that I need to get to the starting line healthy and unhurt.

Part of staying healthy means taking the time to stretch, which I can be bad at.

This next week is a lower mileage week so I’m going to work on speedwork (which my computer is convinced should be “spadework”) and inclines/declines as well as focus more on lifting in my step-back weeks. On days where I know I have a lot to fit in, I just skip the lifting so I can get the miles in.

Lastly, a few days ago my college cross-country coach revealed that she is fighting another relapse of breast cancer. This woman is SO incredibly hardcore and super strong and I know that she will kick this recurrence of cancer out of the park. She is also unbelievably humble and caring. I was so fortunate to have her as my coach in college and she has helped me and so many others find joy through running.

Today is also the birthday of the woman whom my undergraduate college was named for, Mary Julia Baldwin. In honor of two strong, savvy women, I wanted to dedicate my run this morning to them.

I wore my new pink Raw Threads shirt, my Road Runner Sports shorts, my trusty Brooks Ghosts, and my new Stride Box socks I just got in yesterday. I ran the typical cross-country distance we raced in college and thought about all the early morning practices and the two-a-days and the thrill of racing the course. I love running and I am so thankful for those who have shared with me their time and experience.

Just. Keep. Running

One Month Down

During the month of September, I ran at least a mile every day. Having a routine has made it much easier to stay on track, plus it helps break up the monotony of the day. Things can be incredibly dull when every day is the same as the day before and the only variety is what’s for dinner, and even that’s on a seven-day schedule. Tonight’s dinner was pizza. Every Friday is pizza.

I had a day trip to another location earlier this week to try to get fingerprinted and also spent some time indulging in a facial and a massage, doing some shopping at the bazaar, and enjoyed a large caramel macchiato on a terrace.

Not an actual Zales.

A look down one side of the bazaar.

This is one of my favorite shops. I wish I’d taken pictures of the bowl and vase I bought this time, but he wrapped them up so quickly.

I liked these little bud vases.

Enjoying my caramel macchiato and some good reading.

I got back to my usual location just in time for dinner, but I still hadn’t gotten any running in. I’d gotten plenty of walking that day, but no running. I had tried to get up early that morning but like the procrastinator I am, I promised myself I’d do it…later.

Fortunately, the unusually kick of sugar and caffeine mid-afternoon meant I was wide-awake in the evening when I usually get tired so I ran after I got off work. The extra alertness also translated to a very fast pace and some light weights before I decided I really needed to get in some sort of bedtime routine if I was going to sleep at all.

I’m hoping to do some more traveling but I will have to be less lazy about working contingencies for runs since I may not always get back the same day.