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I did it ~ after all these years, I finally ran my first official 5K!

GW Parkway Finish Line
At the finish line with my first ever “finisher” medal

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a serious debilitating mental block against running. I could hike down cliffs in Guam, through the Grand Teton trails or play tennis for hours but within three minutes of running, I would think of every excuse to stop. I signed up for the George Washington Parkway Classic in 2012 but backed out when my allergies flared (yes, I know, another excuse).

In London, I met a woman who ran ultra-distance races. She typically ran 100-mile races. Yes, ONE. HUNDRED. MILES. When I first heard about her long runs (and didn’t know her), I thought surely she must be obsessive and compulsive. It seemed (and still does) superhuman to run that far.  After I got to know her, I couldn’t have been more wrong. She’s a bright, fun, and above all, BALANCED woman. She is a married to a wonderful, supportive husband (one of the nicest men I’ve ever met) and has two great sons who are so proud of her accomplishments. She isn’t obsessive at all.

She ran one of her ultra distance races last June and I was fascinated by all the details of what it takes to do a race such as that. It sounded incredibly painful and yet she persevered. I absolutely can’t get my head around the fact that she ran 100 miles. Not only did she run 100 miles but she beat the women’s and men’s record time. Within days of running the race, she went with me and several other women to the Royal Ascot Horse Race for Ladies Day. She had a little trouble getting up and down from the picnic blanket but other than that, she was the life of the party. No complaints about the after-effects even though her body had to be in serious recovery mode.

When I asked her why she endures these long, ass-kicking runs, she said because she wants to do it “while she still can.” Guess that’s as good of a reason as any. And the real kicker for me is that she didn’t start running until she was in her 40s.

How could I not be motivated and inspired by her?! So, last November, I signed up once again to run the GW Parkway classic 5K. The idea was to have a long “training” time. That plan didn’t work so well since we had the worst winter in 30+ years. Seeing as I’m not a runner in the best of weather, I certainly wasn’t getting out in the snow and cold. I went for TWO runs the entire winter ~ one for a mile and one for 2 miles. Needless to say I was sorely tempted to “excuse” myself from this race due to lack of training.

But then I thought of my ultra distant runner friend and carried on. And during the race, when I was at the half way point and was thinking how badly I wanted to walk the rest of the way, I thought of how Jean must have felt at mile 75. And yet she continued on.

Here’s what kept ME going today ~ the weather was perfect! My dear husband stayed with me earning his PW (personal worst) in a 5K and a piece of gum that a friend, Jayne suggested I chew while running.  Yeah!  Next time ~ yes, I do believe there will be another 5K in my future ~ I’m going to hydrate more and definitely do a few more training runs.

GW Parkway 5K
A mile done and I’m still smiling

GW Parkway April 2014
Those bathroom lines are ridiculous!

GW Parkway 5K
With husband, daughter and exchange student. A great run for all of us

My favorite quote of the day was the woman standing behind me at the start of the race. When asked by her friend what her “goal” of the race was, she said “Completion”

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It was a gorgeous day for the Cherry Blossom 5K run! This was our second time volunteering for the race and, this year, we brought our exchange student from Bangladesh. It was a great new experience for him and he really enjoyed himself. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement when the runners are coming through.

Lincoln Memorial at dawn

Lincoln Memorial at Dawn

Memorial Bridge early morning

Memorial Bridge as the sun comes up

We were assigned to the first Water/Gatorade station which is located just over the Memorial Bridge on the left side of the Lincoln Memorial. We woke at 4:15, took the metro to the Arlington Station, walked over the bridge and made it to our volunteer check-in spot at 6:00. Then it was time to fill the cups ~ all 1,000 of them.

CHerry Blossom Run Water/Gatorade station cups

Handing out gatorade

We had plenty of Gatorade for the runners!

At the end of the water/gatorade handout

This is what it looked like once 18,000 runners went through the water/Gatorade stop

Cherry Blossom Water/Gatorade station

Happy Volunteers

Next year, I hope to run the Cherry Blossom 10M/5K ~ most likely the 5K. It’s always inspiring to see the runners go by with smiles on their faces even if they’re a little behind the rest of the pack. The last group of runners/walkers to go by got the biggest cheer from all the volunteers at the stop. Good for them to keep on going…

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Fitness Goal

One of the best things to do during a deployment is to stay busy with activities, volunteering, work, etc. I like setting goals which makes me feel productive while Favorite Man is away. My number one goal for this deployment is to get FIT!

Since I started working nearly a year ago, I feel very out of shape. My goal is to be fit but not to lose weight. In fact, I’d love to bulk up a bit.

I had four days off this weekend and decided to hit the track with Favorite Man. He provided much needed fitness tips. The biggest challenge will be making the time for exercise in between time with Favorite Girl, work and housework.

Wish me luck. I can use all the encouragement I can get…

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Feeling the Spring

It definitely feels like spring here ~ so much so, I got up early yesterday and walked four miles. I’m woefully out of shape and made a deal with myself: if it’s above freezing temperatures, then I have to go out walking. It’s 34 degrees this morning and I’m heading out at first light. I know 34 doesn’t sound warm to my southern-living friends, but it feels fabulous to me.  Just the motivation I need to get a jump-start on getting fit.

Since Favorite Man has been extended here for another two years, I need to figure out what winter gear I should buy in order to continue my walking/running outdoors during the cold winter months. I don’t like the gym and it got so cold this winter which led to my fitness level plummeting.  I can’t have a repeat during the next two winters. I feel awful when I’m out of shape. 

Does anyone living in the cold and snow have suggestions for cold weather gear? Any suggestions for keeping fit in the cold? Fashion is not a big issue ~ I have no pride when it comes to staying warm. What ever works.

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Back on the Slopes

Yesterday, I was out-voted by two to one on our activity of the day. I suggested cross-country skiing or furniture shopping but both FG and FM were adament about hitting the slopes. FG’s response to cross-country skiing was “It’s SOOOO boring.”  She has cross-county skiing in school for P.E. and I can imagine how boring it must be to ski around the school with 25 other kids who fall and can’t get up because this is there first time on skis. I don’t blame FG for wanting a little more excitement.

With the 25 degree temps and the fresh snowfall from the night before making near perfect conditions, I didn’t have an excuse NOT to go downhill skiing. So off we went to Snowridge, which is an easy 45 minutes from our house:

FM and FG had a bet that I wouldn’t make it onto the chairlift with FM betting against me! FG was very happy to collect on the bet:

I’m so glad I made the effort and got out for a wonderful day of skiing with my family.  And the exercise benefits were great. I can certainly feel the “burn” in my thighs today. I’m a very controlled skier and make a lot of tight turns so I can really feel it in my legs. FM prefers the side-to-side slow turns & FG heads straight down the slope so she can make it back to the chair lift without stopping.  It’s funny to see our different styles.

The chairlift is always a fun adventure as well. FG prefers riding with me since FM knocked her down (accidently) the one time they rode together. The funniest ride was when I wasn’t paying attention and FG forgot to lift the bar (she likes to do it) and we both tried to get off with the bar still down. At the last minute she pushed the bar up and we literally JUMPED off and of course, lost our balance and fell. But they didn’t have to stop the lift so all was well. No one wants to be the one who stops the lift 😉

After our great day yesterday, I’m a bit sad that winter is almost over. I’m not sure how much spring skiing there will be but we do have an upcoming trip to Lake Placid ~ hopefully, it’ll snow, snow, snow!!

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Has Anyone Seen My Walkman?

Since I’ve started going to the gym three days a week, I’ve noticed I’m the frumpiest dressed one there. Most of the women are wearing cute exercise pants and matching tops ~ which not only shows off their toned bodies but looks so comfortable. They don’t look like they’re on the prowl ~ they just look good.

I, on the other hand, am still wearing my gym style from the 80’s. No, not the same clothes, just the same style ~ long t-shirt, shorts, tube socks.  And if you think I’m being too hard on myself, at a party the other night, my gym partner commented that I should get an Ipod. Since FM knows about my gym style, he chimed in with “You don’t need an Ipod, you need a Walkman to go with your outfit.”  🙂

Maybe I should wait for legwarmers to make a comeback?

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Skinny Skiing

Although I had more than a few things to do around the house, I decided to join a friend on a cross-country ski this morning. We headed out about 10:30 on a trail here on Ft. Drum. 3 miles and 2 hours later, with very tired legs, a hurt knee and more than a little exhausted, we made it back to Outdoor Recreation Office.

The last time I was on cross country skis was about 20 years ago when I lived in Wyoming where the trails were wide and out in the open fields. I must have blocked from my memory how much of a workout it is. The trail we went on this morning was narrow and needs another 6-12 inches of snow. There was a lot of exposed rock along the route as well as my poles kept getting caught in the brush. If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see snow on my hat as well as on my pants. On one of the hills, as I was going down, my ski got caught on a rock and I went face forward ~ literally, a face plant. And I hit my knee on another rock. I kept asking myself if I was having fun yet?

Will I go out again? Of course! It can only get better right? But I’ll be waiting for another snowstorm before trying that trail again.

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