5K for Friday

I ran the Georgia Publix Half Marathon shadow run this morning, except we could either do the 5K or the 10K. Running anything longer involves shutting down traffic out here and that’s kind of hard to do.

I strained something in my upper back earlier this week that’s made it hard to walk upright so I’ve had to back off everything this week and try to do some remedial yoga. I felt pretty good but figured I should probably opt for the shorter distance in case I had trouble.

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LOVE my new Oiselle Lori shorts

I met my running buddy and we walked over together and got our bibs and shirts and then went over to the USO for coffee. Since we were so early, we had enough time to walk back to our rooms to drop off our shirts and make it back in time for the national anthem.

The course was the same as last week’s. I felt like I went out too slow last week so this week I pushed myself more in the initial surge and then tried to keep it up. It mostly worked. My watch didn’t get enough signal until about 0.4 miles in so my self-timing was off, but I at least still had splits.

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Mile 1: 7:40

Mile 2: 7:37

Mile 3 and change: 7:53

My goal was to keep my pace just under 8:00 and I felt pretty strong until the last half mile. There wasn’t a lot of people around and it was running up a slight incline so I felt a little gassed and I could see my pace was creeping up. I pretty much just tried to hang on and focus on my breathing and stride and pumping my arms.

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Finish line carnage

Overall it was very fun. Since my t-shirt says half marathon I will do another 10 miles to make up the extra distance.

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I went back to my room and did some post-running yoga while listening to Beyoncé’s new album, Lemonade (love it, by the way). My back is still nagging me so I will probably have to go see the physical therapist this week. I took a few days off from any physical activity, but I don’t think waiting it out is going to work though I am very glad it doesn’t seem to be bother by my running. So far cat/cow and a modified child’s pose seem to work the best at stretching that stiffness out, but I’m open to anything else that may help out.

 

Pat Tillman Memorial 5K

I meant to go to bed reasonably early last night, but I got caught up reading through my slides and prepping for the SHARP class I was giving and before I knew it, it was way past my intended bedtime. Whoops.

My alarm went off too early and I almost rolled over and went back to sleep, but I remembered that there was a 5K this morning and that I’d promised to meet my coworkers to run with them. Breaking a promise makes me feel terrible for days and sometimes weeks, so I sighed and got up. I checked the temperature and it was chilly and breezy. We had some small cold front come through that dropped the temperature. I don’t like being cold so I wore my Oiselle bolt tights, a t-shirt, and a hoodie and went to meet my coworkers.

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It’s proven that you run faster in bolt tights. Also, lots of people will admire them. 

One decided to sleep in so the other and I walked over to the USO where we got our running shirts and drank a cup of coffee while watching whatever movie was playing on the TV at the time (The Last Witch Hunter, which has a truly underwhelming 16% on Rotten Tomatoes).

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I foolishly decided to wear my t-shirt over my hoodie and run like that and noticed as we waited around for the start that I wasn’t even a little cold. I don’t like being cold, but I know even if I’m cold that I’ll warm up over the course of a run. I thought about ditching the sweatshirt, but I figured I could tough it out for a 5K.

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Waiting for the start

It was a nice day and I went out pretty slow but picked it up for negative splits the whole way. At the turnaround point I counted the women ahead of me and I was fourth, but they were fading while I was picking up speed. I lost some time at the turnaround because the guy next to me didn’t understand that he needed to turn and got confused and just stopped inside of my track, which slowed me down a bit. As we headed back I first ran after the third girl, who looked strong but looked like she was running with the person next to her, so I managed to pass her. The second girl was fading quickly and I pulled up to and away from her.

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I was overheating at this point and regretted wearing too many layers, but I was almost done so I held onto my pace. I never caught the first place woman; I remembered her from the marathon last weekend and she was in the top five women there too. The course was a little long at 3.22 miles because of the added turn, but my GPS had my 5K time as 24:48, which is pretty decent for me and I finished as second female overall (out of a very small field).

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The back of our t-shirt commemorating Pat Tillman’s bravery and sacrifice. I don’t know many who would feel the call and walk away from a successful football career or a 3.5 million dollar contract.

I waited around for my coworker to finish and cheered on the other finishers before heading back. I’m trying to do more yoga in general and especially after a run so I pulled out my yoga mat and spent some time going through some poses. I really felt a lot better afterwards, not only looser but also more relaxed and awake.

Although getting up early is never my first choice, I had fun and it’s always more meaningful to me to remember our fallen and how fortunate I am to be alive and be able to run.

Olé Volée!

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I’m really excited to announce that I joined Oiselle Volée flock today, a team of women who support each other and promote running.

I’ve really liked Oiselle and what they promote ever since I first saw them at a booth at the expo of my very first marathon, the Seattle Rock n Roll in 2010 (Oiselle is based out of Seattle) and I’ve been a fan of theirs ever since. I love how encouraging their runners are to each other and how much they all love the sport, no matter their pace or distance. I’m really excited to be a part of that.

Their Team Manifesto is called their “Principles of Flight.”

1. build the sisterhood.
We are only as strong as the bonds we build. And while most of us have them, we want to do more. We want to raise the ante in showing how women can support other women. To go further with the sisterhood …fostering strength and leadership not just in competition, but through every action, every day.

2. eat like a human.
No disordered, underweight competition. We know for a fact that this approach is a short-term benefit that detracts from strength, and can spread like a disease. Fuel your body, honor its workload, and create an image of health for other women to follow.

3. tell your story.
Running and racing is not enough to kindle a fire under track & field. By telling your story, you capture hearts and minds. And when you capture hearts and minds, you build the overall success of our sport. You are the story. You are the magic. Let her rip!

4. race with fire.
Fierce, beastly, carnivorous racing. The win, the podium, the qualifying time, the team score. We seek serious victories on significant stages. No matter the goal, the effort is marked by an unconditional desire to push to the limit…to go fast, and take chances.

5. compete clean.
No doping. No cheating. No monkeying with our natural state via chemicals or prescriptions. Eat well, work hard, run fast. Period.

6. be a superfan.
Get fans by being a fan. By being a crazy, cheering, yell ‘til your voice is hoarse superfan. After all, being a superfan, regardless of brand affiliation, is one of the most powerful things we can do to strengthen ourselves and our sport.

7. spread the love.
Oiselle won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay. But if you choose to be here, join because you’re nuts about the brand. You dig where we’re going, and you want to be a part of it. L-O-V-E baby, that’s all there is.

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I really like the passion they have as well as their commitment to racing clean and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. As a college runner I saw a lot of women who thought the only way they would be fast is if they ate nothing at all.

Incidentally, one of my favorite lines of poetry is by Mahmoud Darwish from his poem “The Earth Is Closing In On Us”

Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky?

As a new bird in the Volée flock, I’m keen to find out.

Cleaning Up My Snack Act

As I’ve said before, I have a big sweet tooth. I love chocolate and candy and other sweets. I try to limit myself but truth is, I have a big stash of chocolate in my room for late night or even midday cravings and sometimes even morning cravings when I’m hungry before breakfast.

I don’t think sweets are evil, and I don’t think that they’re bad in moderation, but they were always there tempting me and made an easier choice than going and getting an apple or drinking more water.

My challenge this week was to figure out what is dragging me down. I immediately thought of my snack stash and I knew I needed to get rid of it. It was so tempting to keep a little bit of it back but the idea was to remove temptation, not only go halfway. I packed it all up into a box and took it down to my coworkers, who eagerly swarmed the goodies inside.

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It’s much harder to snack on crap if I don’t have it around me. It was hard to let it go, but I know it’s worth it to remove the temptation and help me to choose better fuel for my body than sweets.

Boston Marathon Shadow Run!

Many people know there are two ways to get into the Boston Marathon. Way number one is to run a qualifying time (and then some under) to register for the Boston Marathon. The second way is to run for a charity organization (which requires a minimum of $5,000 raised, not including transportation, lodging, or food during the stay). There’s also a few bibs that Boston Athletic Association (BAA) hands out to towns along the course, and military. I got to use one of those third bibs to run the Boston Marathon as a shadow run here in Afghanistan.

I was so excited to be able to “run” Boston out here, and I joked that it was more exclusive because of the chance of taking indirect fire and with our elevation, approximately 5,000 feet above sea level, it was a Heartbreak Hill the whole way.

I was also pretty nervous about running a marathon with minimal support and on a repetitive course, and also that IDF or threats might cancel it before or ruin my race experience.

We had a packet pickup which was like every other packet pickup, except there were no other vendors, and no race merchandise around. We got our bibs, a BAA lapel pin, a special edition Boston Marathon Afghanistan t-shirt (cotton) in the Boston Marathon colors of yellow and blue, and a print out of the map of the course and the schedule.

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I made a special effort to go to bed super early because I had my alarm set for 0200. I woke up to pee around 0100 and was too excited to really fall back asleep, which was fine. I got up, put my hair up, applied tons of BodyGlide and went to the office to make myself a cup of coffee.

I met up with some coworkers and we walked down to the start line where everyone else was gathered. We did a quick safety brief; this was the first race I’ve done where there was instructions for what to do if we had an attack while on the course, and then the anthem and then we lined up. We self-seeded so I put myself towards the back of the pack.

Our route was two loops, which sounds worse than it actually was. I was going to do intervals of 10 minutes of running with five minutes of walking, but 20 minutes in decided to go for broke and ran for an hour and walked for five to seven minutes. I think my longest walk break was almost 10 minutes though, a little more than halfway through.

 

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It’s actually a lot prettier in person

There was tons of support along the course with water, Gatorade, granola bars, and GU. I only saw one mile marker early on and didn’t see it on my second lap, which was fine with me. Not really knowing how far I was and just focusing on the time helped a lot.

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I’m happy because I have only a faint idea of how much I have left.

At one point on my second lap several buses full of local workers passed by us and the workers whipped their heads around to stare at me as they drove pass. I commented to the man running next to me that they’d sure have something to talk about to their families tonight. He was really amused at how every person on the bus (all men) had stared so blatantly at me and asked if I’d noticed that. Yup. Definitely noticed that and no, I’m never going to get used to that. He joked they’d all have to go see a chiropractor with how hard they’d all suddenly turned.

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This filter is called “Sweat.”

 

I mostly felt pretty good. My hamstrings were still tight from my two hard back-to-back Sweet Cakes workouts earlier in the week, and the tendon along my left fibula felt like it was burning and was swollen and painful to touch by the time I finished.

The weather stayed nice the whole way and the sun didn’t come out until about my last hour. Also, we had no rocket attacks which I really appreciated as well, though about mile 22 I was sort of hoping for any reason to end my pain.

Finally, I was in the home stretch. I was running next to two guys and we’d been leap-frogging each other for half the race. One of them asked us where we thought the finish line was because it was hard to see. I told him that “I think it’s by the ambulance…I’m running towards the ambulance” and we all had a chuckle at that.

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I used up all my willpower trying to move my protesting legs faster at the end and I could feel how heavy and tired they were, but I finished! I didn’t check the time, but I came in before another coworker who came in at 4:40, which is a MUCH better time than I’d planned on.

I collected my medal and went to get something to drink and eat. They had set up a little buffet for us inside, which was unexpectedly nice. Seriously, they did such a good job of organizing this entire event.

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I meant to do some yoga but while I was trying to get my slow network to pull up a video, I got a sudden case of the tireds (I’d been up since 0200, remember) so I opted to skip most of the yoga and go straight to the nap at the end. I’m sure I will be sore tomorrow and I’m planning on taking the day easy and just doing some light yoga and resting. I still can’t quite believe that I ran a MARATHON today!

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I rather like the “equipment green” and hot pink color scheme of this year’s jackets

 

Transform You Challenge: Try Something New?

My challenge this week is to try something new and outside of my comfort zone. That’s a little difficult for me because I live in such a canned environment where I don’t have much control over my schedule or many options for newness. I’m thinking of trying to make it to one of the yoga classes here?

There are plenty of other things that I’m trying out for that scare me a little bit. I have an interview for a graduate program I’m interested in, and I’m applying for a new different military programs. I’m excited and nervous about those and I’m just trusting that whatever happens was meant to be.

I’m also excited because I’m running a shadow run for the Boston Marathon! It’ll be my first marathon on this continent and I’ve been joking that this is even more exclusive because you have to run it in a combat zone.

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Five for Friday: Transform You edition

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I signed up last week for a 10-week challenge from Ashley Horner. I’ve really enjoyed my programmed workouts and I thought a challenge would be a fun way to motivate me. I’ve really liked seeing others’ progress and on and off scale achievements. Plus, at the end of it someone will win $3,000 but most importantly, everyone wins in having a stronger, healthier body.

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This week is about our “why.” Why we want to spend the next 10 weeks working out. To me, it’s simple-I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. I want to be the best wife and officer and friend and sister that I can be. If I never go outside my comfort zone, I’ll never improve and the further I go and do, the more I realize I can do and that I can still work towards doing more.

So with that, this Five for Friday is all about my weaknesses that I am working to overcome.

  1. Chocolate! They restocked the PX a while ago with delicious Kinder Happy Hippos and Ritter Sports. Since it’s hard to find chocolate in the summer months, I stocked up and I’m having a hard time sharing because it likely won’t be replaced. I’m doing my best to save it for an occasional treat. Keeping it in my room where it’s harder to get to has helped a lot.
  2. Energy drinks. I’ve become a big fan of the free Rip Its we get out here. When the flavor is “Power,” I definitely want it. I’m going to work on cutting these out of my diet.
  3. Coffee with lots of cream and sugar. This is a hard one for me, because I like coffee but I really only love it with cream and sugar. What I should do is drink it black, but that’s a hard sacrifice for me so I am going to cut myself down to one creamer and use honey instead of artificial sweeteners.
  4. Cake with frosting. The DFAC here makes delicious cake with real frosting. It’s sooo good, but I’m going to limit myself to once a week for a dessert. My other favorite is the apple pie a la mode they do – they chop up apple pie on the grill and then scoop cold ice cream over it and drizzle the top with a cinnamon syrup. It’s amazing but I’m trying to change, not stay the same so I’m going to keep my special dessert to once a week.
  5. Sleeping in. This doesn’t sound so bad, except that if I sleep in my only choice is to do my workout after work, which means I stay up late and then feel the need to sleep in. It’s a vicious cycle. To help this, I’m using my new Screaming Meanie Screaming Meanie alarm clock. It’s really loud and incredibly annoying and the sudden jolt of it going off gives me an adrenaline rush that wakes me up quickly.