Weekly Recap 12/21-12/27

I took two days off this week, Thursday and now Sunday.

Monday I was traveling so I didn’t get my lifting in, but I did get some miles in where I was. Tuesday I still felt good so I went for a six-mile run with a short cool down and Wednesday I went back to lifting. I think I’m going to start the second phase next week, though I probably won’t have access to a gym with anything other than cardio when I go on leave. Maybe there will be some dumbbells and I can fake it a bit.

I got my new yoga mat in the mail as a part of supporting the oneOeight Kickstarter. So I rolled that out and did a short flow. I really would like to do more yoga. Our physical therapist here has started classes, but they conflict with meetings I have to go to right now since my boss is away. Maybe in the new year? Until then, at last I have the ability to do some with oneOeight.

Thursday was Christmas Eve so we canceled our evening meeting and had a tiny party instead. The amazing, wonderful people at the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) sent me five enormous boxes filled with treats. On my travels on Monday, I made sure to get something special to share so I got some huge salamis and some brie, camembert, and what we’ve been calling “happy chocolates” because they’re made with liquer. It was unexpectedly nice with the things SOAR sent.

Friday I went back to my lifting and did a short run afterwards. Saturday I had a six-mile run scheduled and then I was busy watching what was on TV so I had a really, really long cool down where I did some backwards jogging as well, just to mix it up.

And that brings us to Sunday. I’m already going to take today off from the gym, but I may get in some more yoga just to help with recovery from yesterday. I also need to begin packing for my trip. I’m really excited not only for some of the free tours I booked in DC through my congressman, but also because my orders say I’m allowed to consume alcohol in transit…and I have a seven-hour layover in Germany.

 

The Christmas Trees of Afghanistan

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the creativity and ingenuity in decorating out here. It really doesn’t resemble any holiday scene out here with how dry and brown and smoggy it is (unless maybe you’re from Los Angeles), but I’ve got my Yankee Candle Balsam & Cedar plug-in air freshener going so it at least smells like holiday cheer around me.

We ordered a lot from Oriental Trading Company to deck the halls of our workspaces, but I’ve also seen quite a few crafted Christmas trees out here.

This one was my overall favorite

I liked the addition of the reindeer and sleigh

We definitely have plenty of bottled water around here

This actual tree appeared a couple days ago in the hallway and has since grown some strands of tinsel.

Weekly Recap 12/13-12/20

I’m a little late in posting this week because it was a busy weekend and I spent most of today traveling.

I skipped my Monday workout, though I can’t remember why now. Just another reason why I have to track workouts as soon as I complete them, otherwise I forget! I’m like that with work, too. If I don’t write it down, it’s not going to happen.

Tuesday I did an easy run and Wednesday I went back to lifting. I’ve been afraid of the bench press ever since I struggled with it, so I’ve been using a machine which has the benefit of working my arms independently, but the downside is that I’m not using the same muscles since I don’t have to stabilize the weight. I went back to the bench press this week and while I’m sure I could lift more than what I am, I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to move up to a struggling last rep. I’d also like to incorporate some dumbbell presses in there too since it would work my arms independently but also use similar muscles as the bench press.

I took it super easy on Thursday and didn’t pay attention to my pace at all, just the time (so I was really, really slow!)

Thursday I felt like pushing the envelope a tiny bit and managed two sets of 180 in my squats, and 140 on my deadlift. Still at 85 for my bench. I was feeling so solid that I went for a short run after my lift, too.

I promise these look way better and non-blurry in real life.

 

I took Saturday off and Sunday we had a special holiday PT session that we hosted. There were costumes, including a man dressed in a pink bunny suit like Ralph from A Christmas Story and hot chocolate afterwards.

Viva Las Vegas!

My husband likes to say “those who plan early, plan often” because I plan things so far out that things can’t help but change. Most of the time, I like planning things far enough out that I can be flexible about other things that come up.

Today Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is having a sale on some of their races (through 11:59 p.m. PST) which is about 1230 here.

I logged on eagerly at 1220 and then twiddled around for ten minutes hitting the refresh button every couple of minutes until the site went live. My goal was to score a registration in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. Fortunately, not a lot of people are awake at midnight PST so I got a spot easily.

It works really well for my schedule, it’s over a long weekend so hopefully I won’t have to take any time off work and P will be able to join me, too.

I am really tempted to add another registration in there, too because they’re so cheap! But I also know that I’m looking at a lot of distance races next year and I need to balance the costs by picking cheaper options. I’d love to register for the Philadelphia RnR, but it’s the same weekend as the Equinox Marathon, which will be the cheapest one I do because I won’t have to travel for it.

I really like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events. My first ever marathon was the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll and I had so much fun and the music was fantastic. I still recommend them to anyone who is looking for a good first race experience, at any distance.

Weekly Recap 12/6-12/13 + Christmas Cards

I was much better with my training this week. Monday I felt so good after lifting that I did a short run. Tuesday I woke up feeling a little sniffly but still got my scheduled run in, and remembered why Body Glide is always a good idea if it’s a little humid out.

Wednesday I just did my lifting workout – 175 squats, managed a 140 deadlift on my last set though I had to switch to an alternate grip for the last two reps, 35-lb back extensions and 15-kg incline bench press. I’ve recently become more of a fan of using a machine to do my bench press because I don’t have to worry about failing a rep (and embarrassing the heck out of myself) but also because it works each arm independently, I can’t use my stronger side to make up for my weaker side. The downside is that because I don’t have to stabilize the bar, I’m not using all the same muscles as I would on the bench. I’m sure there’s a happy medium in there, I just need to find it.

Thursday I woke up and felt like a zombie. I was sneezing, had lots of sinus pressure and had a wicked headache. I was looking and feeling so poorly that my boss sent me to bed at 1700. I stopped by the med shed and they gave me a neti pot type thing called a Nedi-Med which rinses your sinuses, some sinus decongestant, and also a nasal moisturizing spray. I’ve always been intimidated by nasal irrigation, plus it seemed weird, but I thought I’d try it out. Wow. It felt SO good. As an added bonus, it also cleans out all the dust and other things from your nose that you’re breathing in all day.

Friday I was feeling so much better I thought I could do a double workout and make up for Thursday, but my body was still feeling really weak. I did manage two wimpy sets of 185 squats, but didn’t end up running

Saturday I did my scheduled run for Sunday, though I couldn’t tell you why. I was feeling even better and managed a 6:05 Magic Mile, though the rest of my run was very leisurely. I also got up really early to take some pictures on the roof to make our awesome Christmas card for this year.


I took Sunday off. I was still feeling a little under the weather and eating healthy food and getting plenty of rest is the only way I’m going to ultimately kick this sickness. I still have plenty of time between now and Dopey, but I want to make sure my body gets what it needs to heal itself.

I want to enjoy Dopey and my vacation so I’m going to finish this week’s workouts as best as I can and then begin my taper. My ultimate goal is to show up to the starting line healthy and finish happy and have as much fun along the way. I’m not running competitively so I’m going to plan to take as much time as I want to see characters, ride the rides, and embrace the whole experience.

One Month To Go!

I’ve recently come down with some sort of cold/upper respiratory infection that has made me feel awful enough that my boss sent me to my room for the night. It takes a lot for that to happen while deployed. So while I feel like death warmed over, I’m getting excited because in a month I’ll be completing the Dopey Challenge and the Castaway Cay Challenge as well.

RunDisney released the race guide a couple of days ago so I’ve been poring over it, looking at the courses and making some last-minute plans on things to do and things to make sure to pack.

I also splurged on the Race Retreat for before and after the half and full marathons. I’ve never done it before, but I was lured in with promises of $10 for 10 minute post-race massages, a warm tent, dedicated toilets, character pictures, you get it.

The weather in Florida can be kind of finicky, so I’m hoping the Race Retreat will keep me warm and dry if it ends up being one of those cold or wet mornings. In the meantime, I’ve been working on what I’m going to pack for the race weekend.

Running Style

 

  • For any weather, I am most likely going to be running in SOAS tights. They’re just more comfortable, wicking, flattering, and they keep me warm and dry no matter the temperature. I may run in shorts for the shorter races, but sometimes I like longer layers for those because it takes me a few miles to actually warm up.
  • I’m also an enormous fan of The Undress ever since I saw their Kickstarter. It’s a dress that lets you change your entire outfit without flashing anyone. As someone who has changed many, many times in my car, this was a huge improvement in my life. It’s also cute enough that you could wear it just by itself or as a coverup at the beach or wherever. They have a ton of colors and some patterns are reversible.
  • I have an addiction to headbands, probably dating from when I was in grade school and my parents, unable to tame my wild hair, just threw it in a headband and let the rest of it poof out. I’ve discovered hair products and how to braid since then, but I still love headbands. These ones are from SweatyBands and are my all-time favorites. They come in skinny and wide and what seems like a million different patterns and colors. They even do custom patterns for order for schools or other events.
  • I’ve also been in love with Rainbow sandals for years. They last forever and only get more comfortable with time and have great arch support. They’re my favorite shoes period, but also my favorite thing to wear after running.
  • I’m a recent convert to QALO. I bought a couple of rings to take with me to Afghanistan so I wouldn’t have to worry about scratching up my wedding set. They’re medical grade silicone and come in different colors. I love how I can lift with it on and it doesn’t catch or give me callouses, and also how the rings don’t slide off my fingers when they’re cold. I bought one for my husband and even he likes his.

Weekly Recap 11/30-12/6

This week might look a little thin, and it should because I skipped not just one but two workouts and ended my second attempt at a running streak. And I’m actually okay with it.

I had some unexpected stressors this week with dealing with trying to stay stationed with my husband and as a result, I was so in the dumps not even a run could pull me out. I didn’t even want the wings at the DFAC and I love wing night.

I did get some good lifting in, and I ran a really fast, short run in on Wednesday after my lift.

There were some things I was hoping to do while at Bagram, like take a yoga or a spin class and ended up doing neither. Instead, I watched three new movies, I visited all the bazaars I could and bought and sent things to my family and friends, I tried to take pictures of all the different birds I saw, and I thoroughly enjoyed my cottage cheese and fresh pineapple for breakfast every morning.

Tomorrow is a brand new day and I have some brand new goals I’m going to work on as well. I’m not sure I’m going to try a running streak again. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it and it made running feel like a chore instead of something I love to do.

The first thing I’m going to try to complete is the “Tour Afghanistan Challenge.”

It’s 1,775 “miles” and there’s a free t-shirt involved. I love free t-shirts. Every minute in physical activity equals a mile. I’m looking forward to picking up the t-shirt the next time I head back there and in the meantime, I’m going to be tracking my minutes towards it.

 

The other one is 200 miles, 5,000 push-ups, and 10,000 sit-ups. I think that will take me a little longer.

The shirts side by side

“Women in combat is nothing new”

Today, or I guess technically yesterday but it was already today where I am, the Army announced it would be opening all remaining jobs to women.

I always wanted to be a tanker or field artillery. I did a summer training between my sophomore and junior year in college and to me those were easily the best jobs out there. I loved it. But because of the Army’s restrictions on women in combat, I couldn’t get branched either of those. (Actually, the Army forgets that I’m female more often than I’d like to admit and did branch me Armor, but they realized their mistake and corrected it, though I still have the original paperwork because I thought it was sort of funny).

Have you ever seen the movie Gattaca? It’s one of my favorites. It’s set in a future where parents genetically engineer their children and your genetic predispositions control your fate in life. A man whose lifelong goal was to travel into space is limited by his genes to be a janitor. One of my favorite scenes is him having a swimming race with his genetically perfect brother. Although he’s genetically inferior, he has a drive inside of him that no genetic altering could place there and he outlasts his brother and wins.

I remember the concerns over repealing DADT, that we’d have to make extra accommodations and it would change everything. Since I went to a women’s college with a very healthy LGBTQ population, I knew that repealing DADT wouldn’t weaken the Army but strengthen it. I think this will be no different and actually I’m really looking forward to a future where who you are does not limit who you can become.

 

 

Bright and Happy Holidays

I had a despairing night last night which led to not sleeping well which led me to not want to work out at all today. Instead, I saw a post on Reddit about a guy in a person’s class who was copying a Bob Ross video onto MS Paint and I thought I’d try it myself.

bobross2

I like to think it looks like Afghanistan, if there were no people and somehow had snow on the mountains in the summer. Clearly I have a better imagination than artistic ability.

 

Which led me to thinking about what I would want for Christmas this year. I don’t really understand how I made that connection, either.

 

Bright and Happy Holidays

 

 

1. I love these Weekender Cropped Pants from Lilly Pulitzer. Her prints are so bright and cheerful that even though they are way too loud for Alaska’s plaid flannel style, I wear them anyway.

2. So no one got me Lauren Fleshman’s “Believe” running training journal last year, and I never got around to buying it myself but I’ve been tracking my workouts more specifically this year (mostly to keep myself from slacking in the weight room) and now I’m a fan. The journal comes in “Fast Red” as well as charcoal and (my favorite) lavender.

3. I got a Traditional flavor Amsterdam wafel from Rip Van Wafel in a box from The Feed and it was so delicious I immediately ordered more. This coconut flavor is wonderful. I like it with coffee, I like it alone. They’re perfect any time of the day.

4. Somehow I’ve lost a few socks since I came out here which makes me sad. I have a bit of a reprieve from standard Army sock colors here and I’ve taken full advantage of it. These Asics socks are great. They’re brightly colored (so they match everything), comfortable and wicking, and so affordable that I can buy more when my socks mysteriously disappear.

5. I don’t know how I’ve lived this long without Sneaker Balls in my life. I got a set as a sample in a Stride Box and while I wouldn’t say they’re life-changing, I can’t believe how badly my shoes smelled before. I currently rotate my set between my last-used (and smelliest) pair of shoes and they’ve lasted far longer than I thought they would. They come in fun colors and styles, too.

A little late but, Day 30 of 30 Days of Thanks

At my first location, or technically my second-ish, there was a mother dog and five puppies living in a trash heap outside of where I worked. The trash heap had razor wire all over it and there was a big pipe-laying ditch next to the heap that the puppies would fall into and we’d go in and pull them out of.

Gradually, Mama Dog, as we called her, and her puppies became friendlier towards us. There may have been food involved.

That is what those puppies were living in. Sheesh. And you can see the ditch in the upper left by the caution tape. Unfortunately, dogs don’t read.

If she saw me walking alone, Mama Dog would run up to me and just walk with me. She was very smart, as most Afghan dogs have to be, but I was also so surprised at how gentle and friendly she was to us. She definitely seemed to prefer me, probably because I was female. Afghans are not typically kind to dogs so not only was I not dressed like an Afghan, I didn’t smell like one, but I was also not the typical gender and I think those likely played a factor.

Anyway, we realized that these puppies and Mama Dog were not going to have long, happy lives here. There are all kinds of dangers to Afghan dogs. They might not get enough food, they might be hit by a car, if they were caught on the flight line they’d be shot, or a cruel Afghan might hurt them just to hurt us.

Fortunately, we were able to get all five puppies, now named Lucky, Chase, Sophia, Copper, and Bear, and Mama Dog, now called Scarlet, out of the country and to America where their new homes were waiting for them.

Today I am thankful for the Puppy Rescue Mission.

There’s also a really sweet video of Scarlet’s arrival in America here, and if you’d like to learn more you can go to Puppy Rescue Mission.